Soft Wall makes space and marks a new place at the northern edge of Virginia Beach’s Rudee Loop, an underdeveloped area between the beach and marina. It’s a place where people gather, where a dappled and ever-changing shade covers the site, where a cool blue landmark signals present and future potential.
A long undulating surface that filters light is interrupted by two gently curved folds that create soft niches on either side of the linear structure. The niches suggest gathering, spots where a bench or chairs can be set out, where groups can meet before heading to the beach, where people greet each other in conversation.
Perhaps life really is a beach here. Every summer day, in a seasonal pattern of movement, crowds arrive in the morning and leave around evening. Tracking the day like a sundial, the shadow the installation casts across the site suggests a less strict sense of time. Time defined by light and atmosphere, by shade and sensation.
In the morning the sun casts shadows over the western side of the site as cars and beachgoers arrive.
The site empties as the beach fills.
It’s close enough to hear, but just out of view.
In the afternoon and evening the shadows move to the eastern side of the site creating shade for activities at the end of the day.
Status: Invited RFP
Client: Virginia Beach Office of Cultural Affairs
Date: April 1st, 2018
Structural Engineer: Martos
Fabrication Consultant: The New Motor