Innovation Field

For The City of Minneapolis

Jackson Square Park, Minneapolis, MN

Corten steel, sculpted jade glass, solar-powered LED light

45' x 23' x 15'

2010

My site-responsive approach ensures that projects are designed to create a cohesive, attractive, and unique sense of place. The Innovation Field Backstop is one of a series of projects including In Flux and Double Flux, located in Jackson Square Park, that relate in material and design in order to tie in with other pre-existing elements in the commons. The theme of "innovation" refers to the influences of both Thomas Edison (for whom the nearby school is named) and Fireman Louis Rober (credited with bringing the sport of softball to Minneapolis). Fabricated with corten steel, sculpted green jade float glass, galvanized steel, and solar-powered LED lights, Innovation Field Backstop is durable and requires little maintenance.

I researched figures who are significant to Edison High School and the local history of softball. Wanting to use materials to commemorate Rober, I visited the City of Minneapolis Water Department warehouse where I found wooden sewer pipes, old valves, and two antique fire hydrants. After sand blasting and restoring the two fire hydrants, they were integrated into the backstop design. The functionality of the backstop was tested with a ball and bat to ensure durability and safety. Glass is not usually considered a suitable backstop material however, the 1-1/2 inch thick laminated glass used in this backstop is significantly stronger. It is also protected by 1/4 inch corten steel fins to prevent softballs from reaching the crowning glass ribbon. 

This project is located in the heart of the Minneapolis Arts District and was realized by an engaged community, Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association, and City Councilman Kevin Reich.