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The project is an art installation designed by the well known artist Michael Heizer and consists of a found rock artifact weighing 346 tons. The rock spans over a fifteen foot wide trench supported by concrete wall structures on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) campus in Los Angeles. The trench is 456 feet long with a pure monolithic concrete structure starting at ground level and going down to 15 feet below ground at its deepest point.
The intention of this unusual sculpture is to captivate its visitors. When arriving at the site, the huge rock can be seen, sitting gently on a straight, crisp line in the ground. That line is actually at the top of the concrete wall on either side of the trench. Descending down the trench the 15 feet wide walkway is experienced through a set of sloped surfaces and landings bordered by two feet wide retaining walls either side. A negative form, sculpted in the retaining wall, functions as an artistic handrail. When the visitor walks down further below ground level, the rock starts to levitate above the sightlines. Arriving at the lowest level, also known as the ‘rock chamber’, the gigantic rock is viewed from below, as it is supported by two stainless steel shelf like structures and anchored to it by 9 rods; four on one side and five on the other.
It’s a simple idea; a rock that spans over a trench that is excavated in the ground. It is so primitive, big and dramatic, it's one of the largest and most ambitious sculptures in Southern California.
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Client: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Artist: Michael Heizer
General Contractor: MATT Construction
Buro Happold Services: Structural engineering and design