American, born 1972
New York–based artist Sarah Oppenheimer creates precise forms that alter the built environment and shift our frame of spatial reference. Pushing the boundaries between sculpture and architecture, Oppenheimer questions the limits of both mediums, upending our experience of inside and out, and inverting our sense of what is near and far. By reorienting the spaces we inhabit, the artist sets out to reconfigure the way we see and are seen.
Oppenheimer received an MFA in painting from Yale University, but the artist’s work just as frequently pulls from mechanical, structural, and behavioral engineering. Oppenheimer’s relationship to these fields makes C-010106 ideally situated between two buildings at the Cockrell School of Engineering. Both use floor-to-ceiling glass as a way to showcase students at work and to promote multidisciplinary collaboration. C-010106 also usesglass as a primary material, but in a different way.
At opposite ends of the footbridge, a pair of diagonal reflective glass plates are sandwiched between a pair of clear glass sheets. At the intersection of the four panes, the glass passes through an incision in the bridge surface. The reflective surfaces within the incision create a periscope effect with unexpected views—pedestrians on top of the bridge can see the reflections of those underneath, and vice versa.
A bridge serves as a connector between spaces and people by making travel from one building to another more efficient and direct. By placing glass forms on the north/south and east/west axes of this bridge, Oppenheimer creates a “switch” that interrupts the normal flow of traffic and habitual ways of movement. This alteration invites us to embrace observation and encourages unexpected social interactions. As a result, C-010106 introduces new relationships between people and heightens awareness of the shifting light, sound, and seasons that surround us.
Location: Peyton Yates Family Bridge at the Gary L. Thomas Energy Engineering Building (GLT)
GPS: 30.287883, -97.735634
Press play to watch the artist video.