Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Tribute To The Iconic Rooftop Water Towers

"Watertower" (Sculpture by Tom Fruin)

Water towers are distinctive structures that have become part of the New York City skyline. They are elevated structures supporting a water tank constructed at a height sufficient to pressurize a water supply system for domestic uses and fire supply for a building. In the 19th century, New York City required that all buildings higher than six stories be equipped with a rooftop water tower. While some of the newer buildings incorporate the rustic structures into the architectural design, most buildings make no effort to hide the tanks. Most of these water towers are made of wood that isn't painted or chemically treated, making them look old.

As a tribute to the iconic New York City water tower, Brooklyn-based artist, Tom Fruin installed his sculpture called Watertower (20012) atop a building in DUMBO, Brooklyn. The colorful piece is made of salvaged steel, bolts and roughly a thousand pieces of plexiglass. It includes interior and exterior access ladders and an operable roof hatch. The locally-sourced plexi came from all over New York City—from the floors of Chinatown sign shops, to the closed DUMBO studio of artist Dennis Oppenheim, to Astoria’s demolition salvage warehouse Build It Green!NYC. The sculpture is illuminated by the sun during the day and by Ardunio-controlled light sequences designed by Ryan Holsopple at night. 

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