Lux Nova was inspired by the creation of a wind tower for the new Theology Library of Regent College, UBC. A strong commitment to environmental education and stewardship led Regent College to build its new library underground—leaving room for a three-quarter acre park. Sited at the main entrance to the University, the park is a natural crossroad for students and serves as a public square, a “courtyard” for performance and contemplation.
Rising from the center of the park, the 40′ triangular glass wind tower provides ventilation for the library below and is a significant landmark for the College. It is located on a true north axis and the tip of the tower points to the North Star—the one still point in our night sky. Integrated into the south face of the tower is my art glass installation that offers spiritual reflection: a luminous column of silvery, fused and etched glass is inscribed with the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic—the language of Jesus.
The glass work contains photovoltaic cells that collect energy during the day to light the tower at night—offering a powerful message for the future and a beacon of light for the community. In this installation (the first in North America), stained glass with its thousand-year history is revitalized for a new role in the 21st Century.
In ancient times, people would erect Stelae for wayfinding and to celebrate significant events. These were often made from stone with inscriptions carved into them. Markers of this kind tell us about the stories and beliefs of cultures that have preceded our own. I consider the wind tower in much the same way—a contemporary Stela which serves as a witness to our search for orientation and direction.
Lux Nova was installed in 2007 and has just won a “Sacred Landscape” Design Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects (Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art & Architecture). The award will be presented to Canadian artist Sarah Hall and architect Clive Grout in San Francisco, April 29th, 2009 at the AIA Annual Conference.