Coastal Roundabout Sculpture Approved

by The Editors on March 26, 2014

No, that piece of twisted metal is not the mangled fuselage of a downed Cesna 172, it’s Bay Area artist Roger White Stoller’s newest work “Coastal Helix.” And it will be the centerpiece of North County’s newest (yet rather pointless) traffic circle at the confluence of State Street and Carlsbad Boulevard on the Village’s north end.

“The roundabout is an important entryway into the City of Carlsbad, so we want a piece of art that tells people that this is a vibrant city, a cultural city, a city that treasures the environment and welcomes innovation,” said City of Carlsbad Cultural Arts Manager Vincent Kitch. “Roger White Stoller has developed this piece of art working with stakeholders, the Arts Commission and community members. Everyone involved with the project has been impressed by his design and appreciation of our unique community.”

For the official word from the City of Carlsbad and more on artist Roger White Stoller, please follow the jump.

Coastal+Roundabout MidCoastal Roundabout
New artwork selected for roundabout sculpture
The Carlsbad City Council has approved artist Roger White Stoller’s design for a sculpture that will greet visitors and residents entering the city through the new roundabout under construction at the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street. Take a simulated “drive” through the roundabout.

Stoller’s “CoastalHelix” will serve as a signature work at the city’s traditional northern gateway just south of Buena Vista Lagoon on Historic Highway 101 (called Carlsbad Boulevard in Carlsbad). The sculpture will weave abstract images drawn from Carlsbad’s culture and environment into a metal lacework mounted on top of the roundabout.

“The roundabout is an important entryway into the City of Carlsbad, so we want a piece of art that tells people that this is a vibrant city, a cultural city, a city that treasures the environment and welcomes innovation,” said City of Carlsbad Cultural Arts Manager Vincent Kitch. “Roger White Stoller has developed this piece of art working with stakeholders, the Arts Commission and community members. Everyone involved with the project has been impressed by his design and appreciation of our unique community.”

Stoller will now begin work on his sculpture, but it won’t be installed until after the roundabout is completed, which is expected to be this spring. Stoller and the landscape architects cooperated on the overall design for the roundabout, and the art project is expected to be completed in mid to late summer. The top of the sculpture will be roughly 17 feet above the road surface.

A public art selection committee consisting of Carlsbad architects, community representatives, public art professionals, arts commissioners and City of Carlsbad staff selected Stoller’s proposal after a nationwide request for proposals that drew 90 submissions. The committee recommended Stoller’s design to the Arts Commission on Feb. 6, which recommended the design to the City Council on March 6. The city solicited input through displays at the Carlsbad City Library on Dove Lane, the Georgina Cole Library on Carlsbad Village Drive, and on the city website and social media channels. Following that public review period the Council approved the design on Tuesday.

Stoller, who is based in the San Francisco Bay communities of Portola Valley and San Jose, has produced several works of public art. He said that when he met with stakeholders last year to discuss his proposal, he learned that the Pacific Ocean, the city’s three lagoons and aquatic life are vital to Carlsbad’s self-image. As a result, his sculpture will incorporate abstract images of a whale, pelican, heron, crab, waves, sunset and bird of paradise in a spiral or helix, which he said is one of his favorite forms and is naturally suited to a roundabout.

The city is constructing the roundabout to improve connectivity for all modes of transportation at the busy intersection. The roundabout will make it easier to travel between State Street and Carlsbad Boulevard from either direction, which isn’t possible under its current Y-shaped configuration. Learn more about roundabouts.

It will also improve safety by slowing traffic and adding more room for bicyclists and pedestrians. The roundabout includes a new segment of the Coastal Rail Trail, bicycle lanes on Carlsbad Boulevard and a sidewalk on the east side of the boulevard. The city also will install “sharrow lanes” — lanes shared by vehicles and bicycles — on State Street, welcoming bicyclists into the historic Carlsbad Village.

The City Council has allocated $100,000 to incorporate a public artwork at the roundabout because of its strategic location along Historic Highway 101. The roundabout and artwork will greet travelers crossing Buena Vista Lagoon from Oceanside into Carlsbad.

Examples of Stoller’s other public artworks include:

“Tetrahelix,” a bronze, steel and granite sculpture at Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
“Baja Luna,” a metal and onyx sculpture hanging at the Magnussen Lodge in Lake Tahoe, Calif.
“Tetra Con Brio,” composed of bronze, steel and concrete, which serves as the signature piece for the music center at Strathmore in Montgomery County, Md.
For more on Roger White Stoller’s art, visit his web page.

The City of Carlsbad’s Art in Public Places program began in 1985 and is designed to expand residents’ appreciation of art, reflect the city’s aspiration to improve the quality of life and to enhance and identify Carlsbad as a unique community. A key component of Carlsbad’s program is an emphasis on public participation during the selection process. To learn more about the City of Carlsbad’s Art in Public Places program, click here.

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