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Broadway Underpass Mural

Traffic on the hill near Colorado University has always been a problem. When the city set out to build a pedestrian underpass on Broadway to improve traffic, they held a competition in the art department in CU to design a mural for the
underpass. The winning design was appropriately, an underground scene: a geolithic cross-section featuring tree roots breaking through layers of earth, stone, and water.

To pull off this complex mural, the city of Boulder called in a digital sculptor, who used 3D modeling techniques to design styrofoam forms for the tree roots. These forms were "printed," set into place, and then poured with concrete. The city had its tree roots, now it needed its earth, stone, and water.

Working with the city, we came up with a design to use Colorado Red strip stone, river rock, and custom colored tiles to represent the layers of earth, stone, and water respectively. Each strip stone had to be cut, shaped, and fit in such a way that the whole flowed together into crushed layers of earth. Using this same technique, we could artfully construct any image or design from stone.

The river rock and tiles we then set into place, methodically "coloring in" the mural's different layers. Walking through the tunnel, the lights glimmer off the multihued tiles in an effect that resembles sparkling water. The texture of the river rock creates shadows that add strong contrast. The result? We recommend you see for yourself. The underpass is located at Broadway & Euclid St.

Check out the Daily Camera's photo journal taken onsite during construction of the underpass:

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