One of the first things you’ll see at the new Discovery Center in the Strawberry Mansion section of Fairmount Park will be an intricate set of steel gates. You just may not realize that it’s a work of art.
The city’s Percent for Art Program revealed yesterday that the site-specific public art commission for the future Discovery Center will be a set of steel gates at the center’s entrance, designed by local blacksmith and visual artist Warren Holzman.
The news comes a few weeks after the city’s art commission approved the overall design for the Discovery Center, led by architecture firm Digsau and landscape architects Groundswell and Hillworks.
Holzman’s steel gate will bring some aesthetic appeal to the low-rise building, and is designed to cater to the building’s surroundings. In a statement, Holzman said, “The gates will be comprised of a single repeating motif that when closely inspected alludes to common forms found in and around the reservoir.”
All of the twists and turns will also serve as a “subtle nod” to the community and city’s collective efforts to make the Discovery Center a reality, he continued.
Here’s a look at what the gates will look like when open and closed.
Holzman’s proposal was unanimously selected by a three-person panelist out of 85 applicants. The call for proposals was announced in June 2016.
The choosing of the public art piece is the latest update in the ongoing Discovery Center project, which has been many years in the making. Led by the Philadelphia Outward Bound and Audubon Pennsylvania, the 14,000-square-foot building’s goal is to provide the neighborhood and city with an environmental education center and raise awareness of the wild life and environment surrounding the decommissioned East Fairmount Park Reservoir.