Acclaimed architect and artist Maya Lin, best known for designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., has been commissioned to design an outdoor plaza and main entrance for UC Irvine's School of the Arts.
The School of the Arts complex is undergoing a major renovation to upgrade the school's performance venues, instructional facilities and exterior appearance.
Orange County's arts community greeted the news with enthusiasm.
"I think it's fabulous," said Bonnie Hall, director of Arts Orange County in Costa Mesa. "It will count as a significant piece of public art."
Lin's stature as a nationally recognized artist and architect automatically means that a work of her design will draw the public, said Bolton Colburn, director of the Laguna Art Museum.
The renovation of the school, including construction of the plaza and entrance, is scheduled for completion by the summer of 2002. The estimated cost is $3 million, to be funded through the School of the Arts' $17-million capital campaign.
"We are honored that an artist of Maya Lin's reputation and creativity is designing our plaza and entrance," said Jill Beck, dean of the School of the Arts. "Her design will make a powerful statement that responds to the extraordinary talent and expresses the excitement at our school."
The plaza, a rectangular concrete area, is ringed by several buildings already undergoing renovation. A number of paths feed directly into the plaza.
"I've been interested in a university project that presents significant design challenges and opportunities like those present at UCI's School of the Arts," Lin said.
"The plaza will be a multi-functional space where students, faculty and visitors can gather for learning or for quiet contemplation. It truly will serve as the heart of the school and must capture the school's creative energy and vibrant spirit."
Lin gained fame in 1980 when, as a 21-year-old undergraduate architecture student at Yale University, her design entry for the proposed Vietnam Veterans Memorial was chosen from more than 1,400 entries. The memorial was dedicated in 1982.