Public School 102, Parkchester, The Bronx, New York
Dispersed throughout a 60,000 square foot (5574 square meter) building
316 total: 102 Spheres, 102 Blocks, 102 Question Marks, 10 Planets
Stainless steel, Marble, Glass, Mixed Media
Dispersed throughout the Bronx’s Public School 102, Encyclic is intended to provide a gradual, immersive experience that encourages a sense of the students’ continuous process of discovery and growth through learning.
Above the school’s Taylor Avenue entrance, a model of the orbiting earth slowly revolves, changing from glowing gold to dark, eclipsed by shadow. A series of etched question marks along the solid glass block wall suggest the many questions to be asked and answered when students enter the school. The full-scale doors of the main entry part in a pair of smaller doors with jewel-like inset circular lenses, acting against the larger entry as a measure and anticipation of the inevitable growth students will experience in school.
Moving into PS 102, a vast array of spheres floats within an interior hollow glass block wall. Collected from all over the world, the stone, glass, metal and orbs come from a variety of sources, from model planets to games played around the world. Several, like crystal balls, magnify Parkchester itself. Some suggest the discovery of the known world, while others are distinctly global and geological.
Dispersed through out the building’s interior, planets of various sizes and materials are mounted high upon the walls, as if defying gravity. Each is inscribed with a single word relating to learning, to curiosity, and to inquiry. These orbs, hung like stars in the sky, are intended to inspire questions, a sense of mystery about the world, and an atmosphere of discovery. Meant to be discovered over the course of the students’ careers at PS 102 as they grow and learn, the work slowly reveals itself to the children as their vocabulary matures, and the words come into focus, their meanings understood.
Encyclic affirms a sense of wonder at the nature of the world itself, encouraging the idea that education and growth are about discovery.