Kirkland Transit Center

Kirkland, WA
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A tumble of granite blocks - like water cascading over a ledge - draws people in as they approach the Kirkland Transit Center. The stones are hard to resist - some visitors climb among the irregular shapes; others sit a spell and caress the intricate finishes.

Bringing artist Carolyn Law's artistic vision to fruition took more than exquisite granite in a broad color palette. The stone had to be cut in complex shapes, the faces finished in a variety of textures, and the pieces had to fit together precisely.

"I knew what I was asking for was really complex, with stones cut in this intricate fashion," Law says. "I was very lucky to find Yellow Mountain. I talked to them about ideas as much as I talked to them about logistics and details."

The irregular shapes are nestled up against each other, with a maximum tolerance of a quarter of an inch, and installed on concrete terracing at the transit center plaza.

Law wanted to work with natural stone because "I wanted a material that people gravitate towards. Concrete does not do it. It doesn't have the same sensory impact as natural stone."

Yellow Mountain StoneWorks' granite selection met her need for a range of hues - red, black, gray and white.

The stone facets carry a wide variety of finishes, from polished to more rustic hand finishes. "Yellow Mountain opened the door to a variety of textures. They didn't limit me," says Law, who used seven finishes in all, a different one on each adjacent face.

"Yellow Mountain was really straightforward to work with. They were very careful to let me know what they thought would work within my budget. Pricing was straight up and didn't deviate. That was wonderful. They explained their process really clearly."

As with any public art project, Law not only provided the artistic vision, she also served as project manager, coordinating multiple vendors and keeping costs within budget. "Artist budgets have very little wiggle room," she notes.

Assembling the installation was quite a challenge because of the tight tolerances and weight of the stone -- the largest block weighed about 3500 pounds.

With such tight tolerances, in some cases there wasn't enough room for strapping normally used to maneuver the stone into place. Sliding stone against stone would have damaged the finishes. So Garden Stone Masonry used thin slices of block ice as rollers to move the stones. As the ice melted, the stones settled into the exact position.

Stone Used

0232-gr70%20sanguine%20red Sanguine Red Granite 0205-gr84%20preto%20carvao Preto CarvaƵ Basalt