CLSB Sculpture Inspired by Apple Tree

pomegranate copy

Visitors to the OHSU/OUS Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB) along South Waterfront often ask about the sculpture installed on the southeast corner. According to Los Angeles-based artist Christian Moeller, the sculpture was inspired by molecules and apples!

Says Christian: “I browsed through visual representations of molecular structures, whose geometrical forms triggered the idea for this sculpture. The three-dimensional arrangements of colorful balls interconnected by cylindrical sticks, which represent the atoms that constitute a molecule, are very similar to how I would build an apple tree if I could.”

Like a tree, the sculpture consists of a “trunk” and “branches” made of cylindrical tubes holding about 100 colored spheres. The sculpture is intended to stand as the “last tree, in a row of trees.”

The core of the sculpture, or tree trunk, is made out of a galvanized steel tube, and stands 40’ tall, with a diameter of 14’. It can be seen from the eastern shore of the Willamette River near OMSI, as well as from the Tillikum Crossing, Bridge of the People.  The branches are also made of galvanized steel, with a diameter of 2’ and they cantilever horizontally out of the center of the core with a length between 2’ and 6’.

The red spheres are made of fiber glass or rotational molded plastic with a diameter of 30’. The overall width of the sculpture is approximately 12’.

The sculpture cost about $300,000. It is part of Oregon’s “one percent for art” program, which requires one percent of direct construction costs to be spent on art.