Moon Tower is a 30-foot tall metal sculpture designed for a public park in downtown Austin. By combining four distinct and individually significant layers, the sculpture offers a range of viewing perspectives able to be altered and experienced through proximity, time of day, and overall activity within the park. From afar, the collection of layers is woven together into a cohesive sculptural beacon.
Our intention with Moon Tower is to honor several nearby heritage oak trees, witnesses to the people and events the park has hosted and will host in the future. The oaks have remained a constant presence despite the uses of the open space changing over time—from the land acquisition during Austin’s formative years, cultural celebrations, recreation, parking, farmers markets, and movie nights. The trees embody the ideals of democracy. They represent the importance of public open space, a park, which belongs to everyone. Thus, the spirit of Moon Tower is born.
The outer layer of the sculpture is a metallic skin cloaked in an abstracted pattern of the majestic oak trees. By mimicking the structure of the trees, this perforated metal cladding transforms from a dense base to a leafy structure toward the top. The result bestows a sense of verticality and weightlessness to the piece as it reaches the sky. The next layer, the skeletal structural frame,
draws inspiration and namesake from Austin’s historic moon towers. This lightweight, elegant triangular box truss provides the physical support for the tower and a regular geometric counterpoint to the exterior’s organic, metal skin. The frame is mostly obscured by the exterior metal skin and is slowly revealed as the outer layer dematerializes toward the top of the structure.
The third layer is a graceful, vertical lighting element that softly glows during the evening. Inspired by dryads—mythological Greek spirits who are protectors of the woods—the sinuous light element offers subtle, playful imagery of the wood nymphs. At the base, the light projects the cladding pattern onto the pavement, an inversion of the sun casting shadows through branches of the trees. Lastly, the sculpture is designed to announce information. Changes in time, weather, events, park activity, and other data are marked through variations in light, color, intensity, and animation of the interior element.
Moon Tower is a celebration of the past and present. Through the infusion of art and technology the sculpture not only recalls the park’s ancestry and heritage but also provides a progressive public icon that unites visitors and extends the park’s relevance into the future.