Public art should not be merely decoration or after thought, it should enhance user experience and celebrate a place. As part of the new Pembroke Pines City Center that includes a public plaza, a 3,500 seat performing arts hall, the city hall and The Frank art gallery for the City of Pembroke Pines, the architect designed the Gateway Sculpture and attending landscape features to complement these activities and programs. Essentially Pembroke Pines was a city, without a city (no downtown or community space) and the new City Center and Gateway Sculpture provide a community anchor that did not exist prior.
With a limited budget, the architect worked with The Gateway Sculpture and landscape elements frame a pedestrian gateway into a new public plaza, providing way-finding and anchoring a sense of arrival. Designed as public art, the stainless steel sculpture emerges as tree columns that lead up to an array of perforated plates that appear to spin in the continuous breeze of south Florida. The experience under the sculpture creates a dappled light effect as you walk between bromeliad mounds—an experience like that of a subtropical hardwood forest. The sculpture provides a shaded area for seating, as well as programmable up lighting that enhances user experience day or night. During performance and art events the Gateway will be a meeting ground for pre and post-show activities, and a gathering place for the community.
While the Pembroke Pines Gateway Sculpture has no mechanical systems, or other components that require continued resources from the utility grid the structure is designed and constructed to last well into the future and remain maintenance free from the harsh coastal conditions of south Florida.
A triple-bottom-line approach was conceived of that worked within the clients abilities and budget. This is achieved through material durability where stainless steel was used over mild steel to insure the longevity of the structure. A durable paint that is environmentally sensitive was also employed. Understanding the location is within a heavily used pedestrian path and gathering space, traditional powder coating could not be used simply for the ease of maintenance where scratches or other issues may arise. This allows for city staff to easily maintain the structure under normal maintenance regimes and was key to the economic sustainability of the structure. Another primary objective was to provide shade in the hot-humid climate of south Florida. The public plaza has a tremendous amount of hardscape and the Gateway Sculpture provides essential shade in order to maintain environmental comfort. Lastly, large planting areas surround the structure collecting stormwater from the entire building and impervious hardscape of the plaza. Essentially rain gardens, these planters include native facultative landscape material with vibrant color to enhance user experience and provide critical refuge and habitat to native wildlife.