About Mueller Austin Solar SunFlowers

Overview

SunFlowers — An Electric Garden is a sustainable, iconic public art installation certain to grow into an Austin cultural landmark. Proposed and created by artists Mags Harries and Lajos Heder of Harries/Heder Collaborative, Cambridge, MA, SunFlowers was selected by a panel of visual art and design professionals who reviewed 37 proposals submitted for Mueller's signature public art gateway. The process began with a Call For Nominations from around the country and was facilitated by the City of Austin's Art in Public Places program. The process also involved a period of community input in which the public overwhelmingly selected SunFlowers through Internet feedback and comments collected at Austin City Hall and a local coffee house.

Artists' Statement

"The sun sustains all of our lives. All of our energy is originally solar energy, it has created our world and fuels all our activities. Coal and oil are stored solar energy, but they are running out, and obtaining and processing them causes problems. For our future, it is a question of how we capture and use solar energy, so that it keeps us going without environmental catastrophe.

"The sun and its light are the medium of most art. As artists we celebrate this.

"The SunFlowers project captures solar energy and plays with sunlight, getting to the heart of the matter.

"We set out to create something new and fitting for the Mueller Redevelopment and for the whole city of Austin. Sustainable development and environmental stewardship are a high priority here. We decided to put our project to work creating renewable energy, as well as shade and comfort along the bike path. Natural sunflowers process solar energy to grow, ours do it to light themselves at night and to put extra kilowatts of electrical energy into the grid."

About Mueller

The Mueller Redevelopment is the culmination of a 20-year-long process in which the City engaged with neighbors around the site and the entire community in a dialogue to envision a new use for Austin's former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. A clear set of goals was established to create a mixed-use, new urban neighborhood that is pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented, fiscally responsible, and sustainable and that includes housing, retail, commercial, civic and green open spaces. Catellus Development Group, chosen as the master developer for this joint project with the City of Austin, is committed to quality development with respect for local public policy and environmental issues. This commitment includes integrating public art and public spaces within a sustainable landscape to create a sense of place and enhance community identity. SunFlowers, itself the culmination of a 4-year public process, delivers a meaningful and visually powerful gateway to the Mueller community.

Sponsors

SunFlowers was supported by a major contribution from Catellus Development Corporation with additional support from Applied Materials.

Project Credits

Solar power installation: Texas Solar Power Company, Austin, TX
Landscape Architects: TBG Partners, Austin, TX
Landscaping: Brickman Group, Austin, TX
Earthwork and foundations: Harvey-Cleary Builders, Austin, TX
Painting: Alpha Painting, Round Rock, TX
Steel structure fabrication: Dennis Steel, Inc., Leander, TX
Photovoltaic panels: Atlantis Energy Systems, Poughkeepsie, NY
Energy monitoring/dashboard: PowerDash, Austin, TX and Cambridge, MA