As part of SEPTA’s Art in Transit program, HHB was chosen to be one of 5 finalist teams to propose a sculpture as part of redevelopment and redesign of the 33rd and Dauphin Bus Loop Station. We felt the station occupied a unique liminal space where lawns, meadows and forests lay in quiet juxtaposition to the busy neighborhood. Drawing inspiration from this location, our concept for Modal Glow strived to connect the organic and architectural, while maintaining a link to the significant cultural heritage of Strawberry Mansion.
The form and conception of this piece attempts to blend nature, architecture, and music of John Coltrane. Using the form of a common plant, grass, as we sought to represent its delicate and simple form. We see grass as a symbol of the importance of common events and routines. Taking a cue from the striking Victorian architecture visible in the neighborhood, we sought to honor this heritage by incorporating the language of ornate leaded glass into the piece.
John Coltrane forged his early career less than a mile from the 33rd and Dauphin station. In Coltrane’s musical career he was known for constant innovation, including revolutionary chord structures that drove such sub-genres as Modal Jazz. In his seminal composition, “Giant Steps,” Coltrane’s notes rise and fall with effortless complexity. We used the structure of the written music to locate our sculpture in 3 dimensional space as well as planimetricly.
We wanted to invoke this spirit of creativity and constant rebirth in a sculpture that serves as a reflection of his continued presence in the musical and cultural life of the community.
Location: Philadelphia, PA, US
My Role: Co-Creator
Additional Credits: Jake Beckman