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Public Art Brings Petroleum Engineering Outside the Classroom

Sculpture is located just outside Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building.

Written by Jaryn Jones Kilmer

Fountain

“Fountain” by Juanjo Novella

Thanks to the latest Texas Tech University System public art installation, students studying in the new Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building can enjoy a new perspective on the subject by stepping outside the classroom walls.

Created by artist Juanjo Novella of Portugalete, Spain, the steel sculpture, titled “Fountain,” is located in the south courtyard of the new facility. The structure stands 20 feet tall and is meant to conjure images of swirling water, geologic formations or oil flowing through pipes.

“I was inspired by how petroleum and water move together and wanted to integrate that into the piece,” Novella said. “The sculpture depicts the movement and flow of water as if from a spring, which is where the name originates.”

The elements of the sculpture were cut out of one-inch pieces of thick steel, which come together to create a deliberately free-flowing appearance and promote individual interpretation.

Weighing 11 tons, the piece is positioned to invite visitors into the courtyard. The openings of the sculpture cast shadows on the ground during the day and when lit at night, resulting in dramatic visual impact.

Novella was selected from 32 applicants and began creating the $193,000 project during construction of the Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building. This was his first commission in the United States, having completed works in Europe, Asia and New Zealand.

Fountain

Sculpture is located just outside Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building.

“Mr. Novella did an outstanding job of portraying elements of petroleum engineering through his art,” said Al Sacco, dean of the Whitacre College of Engineering. “We are proud to boast one of the finest petroleum engineering facilities in the country, and this sculpture is the perfect addition to our new building.”

The 42,000-square-foot facility houses state-of-the-art classroom and research space, allowing students and faculty to integrate formal teaching environments with hands-on practical applications.

The TTU System’s Public Art Program was initiated by the Board of Regents in 1998 as an investment in the campus environments at each of its institutions. Through the program, public artworks are funded using one percent of the estimated total cost of each new major capital project. Since then, 98 items created by some of today’s leading artists have been added to the TTU System’s campuses.

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One Response to “Public Art Brings Petroleum Engineering Outside the Classroom”

  1. Erin V Says:

    Great article, Jaryn!

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Public Art
Four Faces

The Texas Tech University System's Public Art Program was initiated by the Board of Regents as an investment in the campus environment and an extension of Texas Tech's educational mission. The Public Art Committee, with the Public Art Manager, commissions original public artworks of the highest quality, be they permanently sited, portable, or architecturally integrated. These works are funded using one percent (1%) of the estimated total cost of each new major capital project.

Whitacre College of Engineering
The Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering

The Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering has educated engineers to meet the technological needs of Texas, the nation and the world since 1925.

Approximately 4,300 undergraduate and 725 graduate students pursue bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees offered through eight academic departments: civil and environmental, chemical, computer science, electrical and computer, engineering technology, industrial, mechanical and petroleum.