How Scary Will the New Transbay Transit Center Sculpture Be?

rsz_timhfigure.jpg
Courtesy of Tim Hawkinson and Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
It's reasonable to expect that the transformation of the now-destroyed structure once known as San Francisco's Transbay Terminal into a glistening new hub for high-speed rail will be for the best. In its final years, the old Transbay Terminal had become a de facto homeless shelter and generally scary Greyhound Bus terminal.

Yet it appears that the terminal's replacement, to be called the Transbay Transit Center, will have its unsettling aspects as well. Last week, the San Francisco Arts Commission and Transbay Joint Powers Authority announced that contemporary artist Tim Hawkinson has been selected to design a giant sculpture (see artist's rendering, above) for the new facility that will greet commuters at the corner of Mission and Fremont streets. While the design is still only conceptual in nature, it promises to be imposing, if not slightly ominous.

The sculpture will be built from chunks of rubble salvaged from the old Transbay Terminal. These will be shaped into what Hawkinson describes as a 41-foot-tall "guardian figure" inspired by the Native American inuksuit, stacks of stones that served as landmarks and navigational tools in the Arctic.

"I would encourage people to reserve judgments as to the aesthetics of it until we get a better working model of what it will look like," says Arts Commission Director of Cultural Affairs Luis Cancel.

"It's not going to be a subtle piece of work," he acknowledges. "It's an attention-grabber."

The sculpture is one of multiple public art projects that will adorn the Transbay Transit Center, including a floor painting and light installation.

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7 comments
Chris
Chris

It would be a safety hazard if an earthquake hits.

Able Dart
Able Dart

I don't see how this sculpture is any worse than the giant sheathed phallus, complete with reservoir tip at the top, that it will stand in front of.

Speaking of which, Hi Harold.

hotunderthecollar
hotunderthecollar

my problem is not so much the art aspect but the fact that it is going to cost MILLIONS of dollars; at least Burners could pull it off for the cost of scrap and a rented crane.

Robert B. Livingston
Robert B. Livingston

My first impression, judging by the picture, is that the rubble statue resembles Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons.

Jsmith134
Jsmith134

That's hilarious, h. brown. Have you seen the Burning Man sculpture in Hayes Valley.

h. brown
h. brown

What garbage!

The Arts Commission should be disbanded and its function replaced by the Burning Man Board of Directors. Anyone who thinks this pile of, literally, collapsed building debris is art must think Japan is looking like the Louvre without walls these days.

Sandoval's 25% better this year (and, 15% smaller).

h.

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