Courtesy: Courtesy of the Regional Arts & Culture Council
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Urban Hydrology

Portland, Oregon

Fernanda D'Agostino (

Transit Mall, SW 6th Ave. and SW Harrison St., Portland, Oregon, 97201
Administrator:  Regional Arts & Culture Council
Owner:  City of Portland (
Date:  2009
Placement:  sidewalks
Collection:  Regional Arts & Culture Council
Artwork Type:  sculpture (visual work)
Material:  granite (rock)
Description:  My concept for Urban Hydrology was to create a visually compelling urban journey that reveals some of the investigations in environmental science taking place at nearby Portland State University. A professor there told me that one problem humans have in addressing environmental problems is our limited ability to perceive at different scales. Many important things are simply too small or too large for us to comprehend. This made me think it would be valuable to reveal some hidden phenomenon, in particular the beautiful single-celled organisms used to evaluate water quality in urban streams.Twelve oversized diatoms carved in granite are sited in the biofiltration strips unique to the the southern portion of the transit mall. Placing them in the water filtration strips adds a supporting layer of content to the landscape. Unbeknownst to me, the project was recently shown as part of a presentation at the North American Diatom Symposium, delighting the audience of scientists.With Urban Hydrology, I tried to thread the needle between beauty, abstraction and content to appeal to both academic and casual viewers.(Courtesy of TriMet. For more information visit:

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