Delicate, yet grounded. Creating a space for respite and highlighting our interconnectivity with nature, Growth Rings by Oscar Tuazon is a breath of fresh air. Tuazon’s work, which often tackles themes of ecology and balance, takes on a deeply Boston — and site-specific — meaning at Central Wharf Park, where the three large-scale circles that comprise the sculptural work, invite the viewer to consider the park, the city, and Boston Harbor in a new light.
Creating a sculpture that appears to float so effortlessly took over 600 man hours of fabrication and installation. Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at all that went into Growth Rings — and some fun facts about Central Wharf Park, too!
What it takes: Growth Rings
That’s one and a half tons of wood (Douglas fir, to be precise!) bent and glued to create the rings, a process hearkening back to traditional boat-building techniques.
With a name especially apt for our “by the numbers” series, we’d be remiss not to shout out local carpenter 4 Nichols! The fabricator of Growth Rings, 4 has been instrumental in making artist Oscar Tuazon’s vision a reality.
During fabrication of the artwork, 12 gallons of wood glue and 120 clamps kept the elegant curve of the sculpture set.
Fabrication of the piece took approximately 150 hours of sanding, bending, and gluing the wood. Compared to a mural, however, installation of the sculptural work was relatively short: Growth Rings was installed over the course of three days, ten hours per day.
All three rings dip gracefully into the earth, a grounded symbol of the natural cycle of life. To achieve this sinking effect, about 800 cobblestones were removed during installation, most of which have been restored to their place.
15' 6", 16'8", 18'
Growth Rings is deeply responsive to the environment at Central Wharf Park. The three rings are the same thickness as the tree trunks. Each ring -- the diameters of which measure 15' 6", 16'8", 18' -- is suspended between the park’s oak trees, a seemingly effortless effect that took several weeks of engineering and design to create. Below each sculpture, before the rings were put in the ground, installation crews laid 4’ x 10’ steel tracks; upon their arrival on site, each ring was fitted with a steel base, which was installed into the tracks and erected through a combination of manpower and rigging.
Straightened out and laid back-to-back, the three rings would measure about 159 feet in length: approximately the same length as the 11,000 square foot park.
24 trees, keeping it cool
Growth Rings fosters harmony by interrupting the urban landscape that surrounds it. There are 24 red and pin oak trees in Central Wharf Park. One of the few shaded sites in the area, 94% of the Park is shaded — and the tree canopy reduces the average ground-level temperature of the plaza by 10.4°F.
3,600+ lbs of carbon
Carbon sequestration is a process by which carbon dioxide is pulled from the atmosphere, slowing — or even reversing — the accumulation of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere. The 24 oak trees surrounding Growth Rings sequester over 3,600 lbs of carbon annually. By highlighting the important but understated role of urban ecology, Growth Rings invites us to stop and reflect on the urban park: as a powerful place where the hustle and bustle of the city gives way to a moment of ecological interconnectivity.
N+T is pleased to produce Growth Rings, a site-specific public artwork by Oscar Tuazon that creates a grounding space for contemplation and respite at Boston’s Central Wharf Park. Stop by the park and share your reflections with #GrowthRingsBOS.