Stephen Glassman Studio (SGStudio) unveiled Flows Two Ways, the Studio’s monumental outdoor sculpture for Manhattan’s new “superblock” development, 57 West, located at West 57th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. Commissioned by The Durst Organization. Scaling eight stories at sixty-by-sixty feet, the work was commissioned to complement the main entrance to VIA 57 WEST, the torqued tetrahedral residential and mixed-use “courtscraper” that marks Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)’s first project in the Americas.
The work is named after a loose translation of the Hudson River’s Native American name, Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk – “the river that flows both ways” and serves as a metaphor for two forces that are separate yet connected: the river and the city. Flows Two Ways marks Glassman’s first permanent large-scale New York work.
“As a New York native, the movement to save the Hudson River was formative in my growth as a young artist intent on creating works of scale and social impact. Flows Two Ways expresses an enduring regard for earth and nature, a love of New York, and the spirit of creativity that must generate the new future." said Glassman.
“My inquiry is the intuitive gesture on a civic scale, to humanize the built environment. The 57 West superblock is remarkable in that the sky touches the ground throughout the entire block, which is akin to living in a mountain landscape. Flows Two Ways is designed to strike that chord with the architecture, generating an even greater presence of vertical open space.”
To develop the technologically complex Flows Two Ways sculpture, Glassman and his engineering, architecture, and design teams crafted a layered construction and anchoring system, effectively a panelized façade. Design considerations were made for optimal transportation, handling, and installation. The layered eight-story, 32,000-pound jig-saw puzzle is composed of a stainless-steel mounting matrix embedded into the existing HELENA wall, 35 interlocking aluminum panels, nearly 400 sixty-foot pipe clusters rolled and flowing in three axes, and faceted metal “boulders.” A sophisticated sliding plate system that largely floats the 16-ton piece off the building accommodates thermal expansion and forces generated by wind, rain, snow, and ice loads.
Engineering by Arup; Fabrication by Milgo Bufkin Industrial; Installation by American Signcrafters
Photography by Chun Y Lai; Music by Romare.