Building the World

Water, Power, and Art


Water, power, and art: Hoover Dam. Image: wikimedia.

Hoover Dam is not only an achievement of hydroelectric engineering but a work of art. After the dam was designed from an engineering standpoint, architect Gordon B. Kaufmann joined the project to rework the design to add an artistic dimension: a pattern of plain surfaces relieved by carefully placed shadows. In addition, Oskar W. Hansen was commissioned to create two large cast concrete panels depicting flood control, irrigation, power, and the history of the area. It was Hansen who set, in the dam’s floor, a star map comparing the Hoover Dam to the pyramids. Water is central to earth and civilization; the Romans built aqueducts – and fountains. Now, how might water’s future be honored, and perhaps protected, by art?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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