Reservoir | 1 November 2002
Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission Art in Public Places
Some Conceptual Guidelines
a. Involve the community in a hands-on component
of the project.
b. Bring attention to the everyday function of the reservoir.
c. Exploit the monumental presence of the entire structure.
d. Consider local history.
e. The final work should appear as a cohesive whole not as
add-ons to a hulking backdrop.
Aerial Map & Clock
Centered on the West Side of the reservoir wall, between
the two sets of windows and extending two hundred feet in
each direction, is the semblance of an aerial map. At the
center of the map is the Alhambra reservoir, indicated by
a circular form. This circle is the destination of the organic
path of waterways depicted on the north side of the tank,
while on the south side stretches a grid indicating an urban
community supply system.
Raised on brackets from the wall, the aerial map will appear
as a ribbon of galvanized steel casting long linear shadows
on the reservoir's surface in the afternoon sun. During the
evening all two hundred plus feet of the aerial map will be
back lit using side-glow optical fiber, the color of the light
will be a deep blue.
The circle representing the reservoir will also double as
a minimalist clock visible day or night from I-80. The face
of the clock will be an LED screen of deep blue color when
illuminated and black when not. The clock will run on a twelve
hour cycle, starting as a thin blue pie slice around one o'clock
and growing to fill the circle by twelve, the circle once
full of blue light will then click off (to black) and the
cycle starts again.
Ringing the top edge of the reservoir (above the aerial map)
and the second row of windows (just below the aerial map)
are two sets of vessels. The vessel design is taken from traditional
historic water containers found both in the original Alhambra
in Granada, the old Alhambra Theatre in Sacramento and the
relief above the main entrance to the Alhambra Reservoir itself.
My vessels are made of ultra lightweight architectural grade
synthetic concrete, with a finish that matches the existing
concrete surface. This will give the appearance of being part
of the original structure. Built into the bottom of the vessels
is a tiered shelf containing a floodlight that will illuminate
each vessel with blue light in the evening. The vessels are
approximately twelve feet high, four feet in diameter and
weigh approximately three hundred and fifty pounds each.
Inserted vertically down the front surface of the vessels
that ring the top of the reservoir are blue LED strips. Using
a software program that simulates the daily water draw and
re-supply, these LED strips will be programmed to monitor
the interior water level of the tank on a daily basis.
The second set of vessels, below the aerial map, will house
the expressive drawings and writings produced by the community
specifically for this project. This second set of vessels
provides storage for another valuable commodity in the community.
Community Based Element & Catalog
Utilizing the three k-12 schools in the area I will organize
workshops to develop drawings and writings both by the students
and their families which will be permanently stored in the
vessels below the aerial map. During a feasibility meeting
it was suggested that I do a presentation at semi annual family
night meetings. These meetings are often attended by three
generations of former students and community members participating
as parents, grand parents and great grand parents. From meetings
like these I will organize the making and collecting of the
Also discussed at length was the documentation of the project
in the form of a catalog. Included in the catalog along with
the documentation of the fabricating and installation of the
work would be examples of the stored artwork, writings, photos
of participants and a CD listing each participant and the
work they have contributed. Copies of the catalog would be
stored in each of the school's libraries and at the Sacramento
Metropolitan Art Commission, other copies could be made available
at cost. Each of the vessels would have an inlayed number
visible from the ground. These numbers would correspond to
participant's name groupings in the catalog. A person could
look up their name with the corresponding number and then
locate the vessel that contained their expressive work at
the site. As the years go by, the memory is challenged.