Four Abstract Volumes

Palm Desert, California
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Between sculpture and architecture, this work contains four very large abstract forms designed to divide the spaces into functional living areas. The sculpture was assembled from 550 tons of specially quarried material to preserve the mineral staining of the quarry face. Rhodes’ largest private commission to date, the work was pre-assembled and shipped to the site in a numbered system. Many of the photos above, detail the pre-assembly process.

The scale of the work seems to affect both the conscious and subconscious mind, taping an ancient part of the psyche that feels safe within these strong walls; some of the stone’s measure as large as 12’ x 9’ while others measure 13 ½’ in a single direction. The polygonal random pattern “rests” in a slightly horizontal aspect extending the feeling of solidity and grounding it.

The pattern is random polygonal and tightly wrought. The chosen stone utilizes the “quarry skin” staining that occurs in the natural seams of the granite rock. The surface-face of these special stones demonstrates intense vitality and movement. When combined severally, painting-like patterns are created through the pattern movement and natural surface discoloration.

The largest of the four abstract forms measures 60’ long x 22’ tall and penetrates the building envelope at several locations. Several of the cornerstones exceeded 25 tons before being hollowed out for seismic attachment.   The final assemblies contain fireplaces, sitting and drinking areas and passageways.  Although abstract in nature, the sculpture works to create discrete living spaces under the large undulating roof form that defines the residence architecture.

Combining huge blocks of cubic granite to assemble large-scale three-dimensional architecture is not for the faint of heart, particularly when the residence sits on an active earthquake fault. This is an exceedingly technical application. The required stone attachment system design by Allan Swartz and installed by Butch Dury deserves special praise for what may be the largest-scale polygonal stonework ever attempted in the United States.

Between sculpture and architecture, this work contains four very large abstract forms designed to divide the spaces into functional living areas.  The sculpture was assembled from 550 tons of specially quarried material to preserve the mineral staining of the quarry face.  Rhodes’ largest private commission to date, the work was pre-assembled and shipped to the site in a numbered system.  Many of the photos above, detail the pre-assembly process.

Associated Professionals

  1. Stone Engineer
  2. Swartz and Kulpa
  3. www.swartzandkupla.com
  • Masonry Contractor
  • Drury Construction