HOUSTON, TX.- Sculptor Kent Ullberg, who works out of studios in Loveland, Colorado and Corpus Christi, Texas, has been chosen as the winning artist in a competition to select a sculpture for the main entrance of the new Federal Reserve Bank building at 1801 Allen Parkway in Houston. The contest was judged by Federal Reserve representatives and Michael Graves, the building's architect and the recipient of the 2001 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.
Judges commissioned Ullberg's "The Guardian," which depicts a perched eagle with its wings spread wide. The massive piece, 12 feet tall and 20 feet wide, will be installed atop an 18-foot column at the main entrance to the building. The piece is now being cast at Art Castings of Colorado in Loveland, Colorado (www.artcastings.com), and will be dedicated the first week of June.
The building, a branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, was designed by Graves in cooperation with Houston-based architectural firm Pierce Goodwin Alexander and Linville (PGAL). Graves was selected after a nationwide search for an architect whose work would reflect the site’s historic location within the Fourth Ward and near the Buffalo Bayou, as well as the broader regional architecture. Linbeck Construction Co. of Houston is supervising construction, which is expected to be completed this summer.
This branch of the Dallas Fed, the site of the former Jefferson Davis Hospital, replaces the agency's current facility on San Jacinto Street. Fed representatives note that Graves was selected for his talent for focusing on historical context within the urban environment, and he has designed a building that will be a monumental yet approachable focal point for all of Houston. The building helps create a gateway to Houston's downtown, and is designed to capture the multicultural, international and industrial traditions of a contemporary city while staying loyal to the classical foundations of the Federal Reserve System. The Dallas Fed serves the Eleventh Federal Reserve District, which encompasses Texas, northern Louisiana and southern New Mexico, and also has branches in San Antonio and El Paso.
Houston art lovers will have the chance to enjoy more of Ullberg's work this summer and fall, when a retrospective exhibit featuring 48 pieces from throughout his career will be on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science from August 15th until October 30th.