The following “flashback” was copied from a write-up for the Tualatin Gateway Art and Monument that won first place in DJC’s 2013 DMWESB “Top Projects” competition. Gary Lewis was the engineer.

The new 18 ft. high sculpture of seven life-size bronze geese and monument sign on Tualatin-Sherwood Road won the First Place Award in the Daily Journal of Commerce’s 2013 DMWESB “TopProjects” competition.

The Tualatin Gateway Art and Monument Project won The “TopProjects” Award in the Public Works/Infrastructure/Transportation category. The award was announced at the DJC Awards Event in Portland on October 17. The natural design reflects Tualatin’s unique characteristics and creates a welcoming sense of place for people entering the city.
DJC’s DMWESB TopProjects recognizes the building efforts by disadvantaged, minority, women and emerging small businesses. Eligible projects were those in Oregon or SW Washington completed in 2012. Projects were judged based on numerous measures of the overall project including quality and project excellence.

Engineering often is a pursuit of function. Design usually is driven by functional criteria, and if there’s enough money left in the budget and time in the deadline, artistry is integrated into the project. On occasion, though, the roles are reversed.

The City of Tualatin wanted to create an entrance monument that reflected the town. Studio Art Direct won the contract after submitting a design that met multiple requirements: a high degree of visibility, safe integration into a heavy-volume traffic area, and the ability to transmit the sense of the spirit of Tualatin in the seven or eight seconds that a passing motorist would see the monument.
“Geese came to mind for a lot of reasons, ” said Janelle Baglien, President of Studio Art Direct. “Lots of geese fly through the area and surrounding wetlands and wild acreage on migration. To Native Americans, geese are special. They’re ‘spirit guides’ and embody a sense of community. Wen they fly in formation, they take turns at flying lead. If a goose gets sick and drops out, another will drop out and stay with it, so there’s a real sense of shared responsibility and dedication in their behavior.”
The 18 ft. high bronze sculpture of seven life-sized geese taking flight from a pond has a natural elegance. Adding to the realism of the piece is the fact that the underlying engineering components are hidden from view.

The monument is at Tualatin Sherwood Road and Nyberg Street, just off of Interstate 5. Site excavation was no small feat in the bustle of a busy intersection. The pond and sculpture are backed by a massive 20-ton slab of quarried limestone, which creates a wall that bears the city name engraved in tall block letters. Reinforced footings support the rock, and are designed to withstand severe weather and seismic incidents.

Sculptor Rip Caswell worked extensively with engineer Gary Lewis, first creating a “pinch sculpture” that showed how the structure would work to meet wind load an seismic requirements. The realistically modeled geese are connected wingtip-to-wingtip and internally reinforced to give the entire model structural stability, balance and strength. To the untrained eye, there is no distraction from their forms by invasive structural elements. The geese appear to be suspended in midair with no support but the wind beneath their wings.

The City of Tualatin would like to express their gratitude to Janelle Baglien, president and founder of Studio Art Direct Inc., Rip Caswell, owner of Rip Caswell Sculptures, Eamonn Hughes, owner of Hughes Water Gardens, and Chad Rhea, Project Manager for Coffman Excavation for their excellent work on the Gateway Project. The City would also like to acknowledge the difficult and good work in selecting and monitoring the project provided by members of the arts, parks, urban renewal, and architectural review committees, citizens, and Tualatin Development Commission members who served on the Gateway Feature and Monument Sign Project Selection Committee.