1368 glass rods out of 2.4 million of the lot left
behind when solydra went bankrupt found a new life in the SOL
grotto in the University of California Botanical garden in the hills
above Berkeley. Rael San Fratello architects was invited to create
an installation utilizing the rods as part of the gardens natural
The installation extends and covers an existing deck next to
a waterfall in the California section of the garden. The rods
perforate a solid wall and protrude a set distance to create an
undulation pointillist surface of light. Each hole was milled to a
tolerance of 0.003” to align the rods to each side of the wall and
provide enough resistance to hold them after being initially set.
The rods were then calibrated to individual depths to create the
undulating surface according to scripted design parameters.
The result is a solid yet porous surface that brings light air
and the soft sounds of the waterfall and garden into the calming
darkness of the space. The sound and smell of water echo the
dark interior. The rods glow even in foggy conditions transmitting
collected light inside.
Location: Berkeley, CA, US
My Role: digital fabrication lead
Additional Credits: Rael San Fratello Architects