Board of Contributors
| California Avenue’s “Sun Flowers,” the
city’s newest work of public art, won two major prizes Friday night
at the 2003 American Institute of Architects’ Best of the Bay Design
Awards ceremony held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The multifaceted sculptural installation, by artists Jennifer Madden and Jeff Reed, “Sun Flowers” won both the Excellence in Green Design Award and the Excellence in Urban Design Award. The artwork is located in front of Country Sun Natural Foods at 440 California Ave. There were more than 400 entries in the annual competition, with the winners chosen by a jury of architects.
But the awards have a broader significance – they reflect how a single work of art can generate a small Renaissance of creative energy in a commercial neighborhood.
The AIA design awards “Celebrate the best of Bay Area architectural design, recognize achievement in a broad range of architectural work, and inform the public of the breadth and value of architectural practice.”
The Green Design award, sponsored by the Pacific Energy Center to “honor work that contributes, by its design, to the creation of a sustainable world.” Primarily funded by the City of Palo Alto Utilities, “Sun Flowers” was commissioned as an artwork dealing with the theme of energy conservation. Imbedded in the elegant petals of the bronze, rotating poppy flowers are solar panels that illuminate the sculpture at night.
The Urban Design award, sponsored by the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, recognizes “anyone involved with the physical design of places or buildings, including architects, planners, and landscape designers,” according to the AIA. “Sun Flowers” transformed an under-utilized plot of public land into an inviting meeting place, and has become a vital point in the California Avenue Art in Public Places development.
CNN newscaster and awards-ceremony emcee Sydnie Kohara quoted from statements made by the panel of judges. In the case of the Green Award, in addition to acclaiming “Sun Flowers” for its
daring, high-tech aesthetics, the City of Palo Alto was
commended for its willingness to commit to a public commission that might
be seen as “risky.”