Civic Art

Seven Wonders

Seven Wonders

Located along Buffalo Bayou / Sesquicentennial Park, next to Wortham Center.

Rising dramatically above Buffalo Bayou's Sesquicentennial Park are the seven 70-ft-tall pillars “Seven Wonders.”. Flanking the park's Promenade and Preston Avenue Bridge, the columns highlight Houston's history through the themes of agriculture, energy, manufacturing, medicine, philanthropy, technology and transportation. Each column is constructed of 150 individual children's drawings, etched in stainless steel plate.

By night, Mel Chin's seven 70-foot columns glow like giant lanterns, reflected in the water and washing the back of the Wortham Center, home to Houston's world-renowned opera and ballet companies, in festive light. By day, the pillars break and filter sunlight, presenting an airy contrast to their 30-foot high brick bases.

To create these "wonders", Chin collaborated with Guy Hagstette, Ray and Hollington Architects and 1,050 schoolchildren. What looks like lace from a distance is actually laser-cut steel. To honor the park's concept, Chin asked schoolchildren born in 1986, Houston's sesquicentennial year, to submit drawings depicting each of the seven themes: agriculture, energy, manufacturing, medicine, philanthropy, technology and transportation.

Selecting 150 for each pillar, he and artists Rachael Splinter and Helen Nagge translated each drawing into a computer image, which was then cut into stainless steel. These projections of the City's present character came from the generation that will form its future.

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