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The Post's Dan Steinberg blogged today about the latest planned "public art" at Nationals Park, first reported by WBJ last month, and linked to two renderings of the 30 stainless steel orbs lit by LEDs that will be installed on the infamous garages by the spring of next year.
On his "In Progress" page, sculptor Thomas Sayre notes how 70 percent of ballpark-goers arrive from the north side of the stadium, and that the garage facades that greet visitors are "large, powerful, and do little themselves to welcome fans to the magical experience of a baseball game."
He explains the concept behind his work thusly: "Inspired by the primary action of the game of baseball itself - the pitch followed by the hit - this public art project consists of a succession of polished stainless spheres derived from a spinning baseball which depicts physics of how a 90-mile per hour pitch is able to curve in such extraordinary ways. Eighteen stainless steel "baseballs" follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast ball pitch. The western garage facade will show the more straight and higher-angled trajectory of the same ball as it is hit by the batter and is depicted with twelve "baseballs". The pitch comes at you from the left and sails off from you to the right as you enter."
UPDATE: After hearing a comment or two about the garages themselves, I thought a little bit of history might be in order. I just posted this in the comments:
If you weren't around during the haggling over the construction of the stadium in 2006, you missed all of the angst about the garages. MLB mandated 925 1225 on-site parking spaces. They also mandated a stadium ready by Opening Day 2008. And the city mandated a spending cap for construction. Those three requirements left the city little choice but to construct the garages in their current location, above ground.
I invite readers to plow through my *many* posts from back in the day, to learn of such things as the proposed Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness, and other ideas that fell by the wayside because of political and financial reality.
This doesn't preclude the eventual demolition of the garages and putting them underground, but I haven't heard that spoken of much since 2008, when most people saw the garages, sighed, and began just averting their eyes.
UPDATE II: A reader passed this link along--if you click on Projects, then Pitch Terrain, you'll see what's billed as a "finalist proposal" for the competition for the Nats garage art. This design, by Rob Ley, was an "undulating lighted facade system," using aluminum screens to simulate the flow of the ball between pitcher and batter.
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