Students in the Master of Architecture degree program at Virginia Tech designed the ornamental medallions installed on the Perry Street Parking Garage. The project provided nineteen first year architecture students the opportunity to directly participate in the design and construction phases of a university facility. They received invaluable practical experience at an early stage in their professional life. The ornaments were designed during the spring semester of 2010 and fabricated and installed by the Rentenbach Contractors in September 2010.
Each medallion symbolizes something specifically relating to transportation. David Chinn, project manager for the garage said, "The selection of meaningful medallions yielded an opportunity to cement forever the abstract ideas and emotions from some of the very first users of Virginia Tech's first parking garage."
Beyond being a traditional symbol of physical movement and transportation, this spiraling wheel was intended as a metaphor for the momentum born from passion that compels each of us to realize our own unique potential.
The inspiration for this design came through my observations of the parking lot pattern. Changing sunlight conditions and variation in depth communicates the transitions that can be found in the familiar pattern of a parking structure.
My medallion explores the relationship between perspective, movement, and the physical form of the automobile. Rendered in exaggerated perspective, the grill becomes reminiscent of buildings or the fabric of a city as they are seen from a passing car; the headlight becomes the eye of the car or a second sun. The off–center composition and prominent diagonals begin to suggest the movement of transportation and of the play light across the relief surfaces of the medallion.
The medallion design captures the abstract pattern of a parking lot's recycled spaces. The design was inspired by relationships of arrival and departure.
The theme behind my design was one of motion and impression. I created a relief of a modified tire tread that would track the movement of the sun across the voids and volumes carved into the surface.
The automobile and its highway fragment how we observe the natural world. My design allows one to see how they coexist.
My medallion is about navigation and direction. Not only in the literal sense of navigating a vehicle, but as a metaphor for the students at Virginia Tech finding direction in their lives during their time here.
The concept of the design is the transposition of sloped surfaces, which fills with shade as the sunlight progresses in its path each day. It reflects the unchanging aspects of the automobile, four wheels in motion and the progress of human invention.
The essential element in my design is rotation as described by the movement of light. The radiating form deepens as you move toward the center, reflecting the gathering of people experienced by this space every day.
The inspiration for the apple blossom represented abstractly on the medallion came from the fact that the land the parking garage now occupies was originally an apple orchard.