At Queens College, the student body reflects the cultural diversity of New York City. Students bring with them traditions from all over the world, and I wanted to celebrate that in my design. I took for my theme global mythologies related to the four cardinal directions, or the four winds. The site was a circular paved area next to Klapper Hall surrounded by a low wall broken by six walkways. This seemed a perfect opportunity to create an outdoor plaza that would invite students to gather during lunch and between classes.
To create seating opportunities, I designed cut and welded steel panels to be affixed to the back of each low wall, transforming them into seats. I incorporated mythological imagery from around the world into the seat back design for each cardinal direction. Among the nineteen mythological figures depicted are a Navajo pollen figure, a bull from Chaldea, and a dragon from China representing the East; a sunset-coiled serpent from Zaire, a baboon-headed god from Egypt, and a house glyph from the Aztecs representing the West. Each image is silhouetted against a colored glass lozenge and set into a horizontally flowing design recalling rolling wind-blown cloud forms.
For the plaza’s central focal point, I created a cut and welded metal sculpture on a base patterned with concentric circles, with key tiles indicating North, South, East, and West. This faux fountain is inspired by a creation myth, shared by the Japanese and the Hopi, that tells of life beginning when ants climbed out of the center of the earth.