McLennan Community College

The DNA Sculpture

Stanton Glass Studio was asked to design a sculpture to fit into the stairwell of the new science building to be built on the McLennan Community College campus. The stairwell would be wrapped in a curtain wall of glass with a westerly exposure. We presented to the schools board of trustees a concept of using a 35’ x 3’ DNA glass and steel sculpture suspended from the ceiling by a single cable on a thrust bearing allowing the sculpture to rotate.

From the Architects renderings we knew the stairwell would be filled with natural sunlight. We wanted to use the sunlight to interact with the sculpture. We envisioned the students climbing and descending the stairs going to and from class walking around the sculpture.

The DNA sculpture’s ‘ladder’ is composed of triangular glass boxes filled with several layers of textured clear glass and reflective dichroic glass. The light entering the boxes bounces off of the highly reflective glass casting colors on to the frosted glass walls covering the exterior of the triangular boxes. Viewed from different angles the dichroic glass shifts colors transitioning from a tangerine orange to a cool steel blue.

As the students ascend and descend the stairs they walk around the sculpture viewing the frosted glass boxes from different angles. Seeing the glass from different viewing positions the viewer ‘sees’ shadows and colors projected onto the frosted glass skin of the boxes. Hidden deep within the box is a double helix of dichroic glass that comes into sharp focus when the viewer’s eyes are even with the box and goes out of focus when the viewer moves past it to the next strand.

We liken the visual interaction with the sculpture to that of viewing a specimen slide through a microscope. One places a slide onto the microscopes ‘stage’, looking through the eye piece, as you begin to twist the focus adjustment the slide moves from ‘white’ to a slowly emerging image, focusing further the image is brought into sharper focus, twisting the focus too much and the image begins to go back out of focus.

Stained Glass installation in the new Science Building on the MCC campus.
Stained Glass installation in the new Science Building on the MCC campus.

The Geometry of Growth

An illuminated Stained Glass Ceiling

The Geometry of growth in the students study lounge is designed to represent all of the science disciplines taught in the Science building. The offset nautilus shell represents divine proportion, ‘growth’. The shell is symbolic of students expanding in their knowledge, understanding and discovery as they learn.

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