Public Art Process for Meadowood Mall Complex

In 2007 I went to Reno, NV to begin a project for I-580 Meadowood Complex. During my site review I toured the geologic features of the greater Reno area. This included the Pyramid Lake region, a remnant of the Great Basin. I was inspired by the rock outcropping and anthropomorphic forms of Pyramid Lake. Later I learned about diatoms, fossilized fish, petrified wood, and crystals, all which form a palette of shapes and forms that reach deep into the geologic history of the area. This became the inspiration for the imagery realized for the Meadowood Mall Complex.

From these initial 2D line work studies, I started investing how to translate the imagery into 3D. I worked collaboratively with a form liner company directing the image translations. This occurred over a period of several weeks, first over the Internet by sharing files, and later in person by sitting side-by-side, refining the work. Textures that previously I achieved by hand, with rock placement, now I could achieve by directing the 3D modeling program. This process quickly achieved a final design, however such serendipity is not always the case. 3D imagery can be difficult to resolve.

This is an image of the CNC carving process. We have carved in a number of different materials. For this project we carved on MDF. I like MDF because it is inexpensive, durable and relatively easy to carve. It works well during the mold release process. For this project, we carved on 4’x8′ sheets which is a common size. The final relief is 2″ deep.

Currently this project is in construction. The cast-in-place walls have been successfully poured. The concrete patterning creates a tactile surface that invites viewers to touch the relief. A pedestrian walkway is adjacent to the retaining walls. At the bridge, light towers frame the entry to Meadowood Mall. They will include LED lighting for nighttime viewing potentially creating a local landmark.

The wall patterning on the abutment walls rotates 90 degrees, creating a horizontal passage. The concrete patterning successfully animates large wall surfaces, introducing human scale and interest for pedestrians and drivers alike. The Great Basin motif reads as a landscape skin, reactive with light and shadow.

The final work will be stained to a warm earth tone hue. We expect the project to be completed this winter.

Team Credits:

Vicki Scuri Siteworks


Places Consulting Services


Regional Transportation Commision of Washoe County