Tampa, Fla., June 28, 2021 – Tampa’s downtown Arts District has a new artwork that covers an area over 45 feet tall and 113 feet wide at The Henry, a purpose-built student housing project on the corner of N. Ashley Drive and E. Tyler Street.
The permanent three-dimensional artwork, named DOTS, was created by internationally renowned sculptor and artist Christian Moeller. The artwork transforms the building’s façade into an expansive bulletin board adorned with large buttons with no image or message –– just color.
“My first visual reference was an urban-scale but dysfunctional abacus,” Moeller said. “I wanted to capture a snapshot of ongoing motion, an instant of process, which was so lively that it would take a moment for its stillness to register.”
DOTS spans the first five floors of the new 23-floor building and covers the parking garage on the south and west sides. There are exactly 119 aluminum alloy discs, each weighing 40 lbs. and measuring almost six feet in diameter. DOTS was designed and fabricated in California and shipped to Tampa in a convoy of trucks.
The Henry will provide new off-campus housing to over 500 University of Tampa students beginning in August. The students served as an inspiration to Moeller. DOTS, he said, is made up of five different colors — green, beige, red, orange and navy — that were inspired by the five subjects in STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, art and math).
“DOTS is a poetic alternative to increasingly popular electronic screens, often called ‘media façades,’ a dominant flavor of our time,” said Moeller. “I wanted to see something well organized, but far from uniform. Something made of many different colors: friendly, fresh and playful. Maybe not too serious, and a little louder, visually speaking, than an architectural curtain wall. Something unique enough to create a strong identity, but open for interpretation and multiple readings.”
Located at the corner of Ashley Drive and Tyler Street, DOTS at The Henry will anchor the Arts District of downtown Tampa, which includes the Tampa Museum of Art, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Glazer Children’s Museum, and Henry B. Plant Museum at the University of Tampa, which are all within walking distance.
“Christian Moeller’s artwork will serve as a visual gateway to downtown Tampa and the Arts District,” said Greg Minder, founder and principal of Intown Group, a member of the building’s development team. “DOTS will make our downtown residential scene even more kinetic, vibrant and buzzing.”
While Moeller is not a purely kinetic artist, he says he draws inspiration from those concepts: “Some kinetic pieces have a certain anthropomorphic quality as a result of their ability to move, but what I enjoy more than anything is their predictability and repetition. In my work, this is what matters most. It is about the calmness that a slow-moving event can project onto its environment. It reminds me of watching a tree moving in the wind or waves rolling onto the shore. We know exactly what will happen next, but we don’t get tired of looking at it over and over again. This is what I am aiming for when I work with active motion. A work like DOTS is frozen, but it has the potential to ‘wake up’ for a viewer in motion.”
The residential tower where DOTS is being showcased is 23 stories tall with 188 apartment units. It will also have 1,800 square feet of restaurant and retail space on the ground floor. The project is a joint development by Development Ventures Group, Intown Group and Halstatt Real Estate Partners. The developers are privately funding 100% of the cost of DOTS.
“This artwork is part of our commitment to enrich the quality of life in communities where we do business,” said Dennis Biggs, president and CEO of Development Ventures Group. “DOTS will enhance an already amazing place for students to enjoy inspired off-campus living.”
The student-focused apartment building has been named “The Henry” as a nod to Henry B. Plant, who built Plant Hall on the University of Tampa campus, formerly known as the Tampa Bay Hotel. Other features at The Henry include a rooftop pool and amenity deck, state-of-the-art security, a club room, study areas on every floor, a fitness center, an on-site bike room, and panoramic views of Tampa’s Riverwalk, Curtis Hixon Park and the University of Tampa. The Henry’s official opening will coincide with the beginning of the University of Tampa’s fall 2021 semester, in August.