Current Projects

BLE Walls, Bridges, and Piers

​Slightly more than 4 miles of highly visible walls along the alignment are treated with designs by artist, Carolyn Braaksma.  Construction of the Blue Line Extension (BLE) has begun and the art walls are the first of the BLE art projects to be built. 
In the spring of 2013, Braaksma was a CATS Artist in Residence at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte.  Over a three-month period, she carved  her  full  sized ​Calico Kudzu prototype and mapped out 300,000 square feet of wall designs.  She spent time working with the BLE project team and interacting with the greater Charlotte community during studio visits and receptions.

  

 

Design 

Braaksma represents indigenous North Carolina plants and flowers such as trap plants, pitcher plants, Venus flytraps, and sundews throughout her alignment art.

Her Pitcher Plant Bridge Pier design (above) implies that something organic is supporting a massive, light rail bridge.

Braaksma designed a leaf railing and chose the girder color for Old Concord Road Bridge, I-85 Connector Bridge, University City Blvd. Bridge and the Harris Blvd. Bridge, which range from 150' to 550' long.


 
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Carving
 
For each of her 17 different designs, the artist carved a full scale prototype to be cast into a “master” by her fabricator and delivered to CATS for use by contractors building cast in place, pile panel and MSE walls.  Her reliefs range in depth from 1 ¼” to 3” when completed. ​


Her modular designs for the adjacent MSE wall (right) uses flower and plant patterns, easily rotated, reversed, or rearranged to maximize imagery over the expansive and tall wall.​ 

​Construction


Completed MSE wall at I-85 Connector Bridge utilizing the artist's Drosera Gingham Pattern.  

 

Artist, Carolyn Braaksma, reviewing her Zebra Plantain design on the end bent of a bridge


The Charlotte Challis walls at the 36th Street Station are made of patterns on a much larger scale, up to 20'x20'. 


Six different pile panel designs blended with the Calico Kudzu make up the Carolina Chintz wall at the tail track on UNC Charlotte's campus. Braaksma selected the color for the piles that hold the panels in place.​


 

Pitcher Plant Bridge Pier design at Old Concord Road Bridge


 

A completed pile panel retaining wall along N. Tryon Street with the artist’s Calico Kudzu pattern. The art panels are pre-cast off site using the art form liner, delivered and assembled on site. ​

 

A completed cast-in-place wall with the Calico Kudzu pattern.​​

Artist Bio

Carolyn Braaksma is a nationally recognized artist with numerous commissions in the public art realm. Inspired by organic elements like vegetation and animals, Carolyn incorporates familiar images into her projects in slightly abstracted ways. CATS sponsored Braaksma’s residency at McColl Center for Visual Art, at which time she completed designed patterns for these walls, piers and bridges. Braaksma is especially well known for her public art in the cities of Denver, San Diego, Scottsdale and Charlotte, to name a few. Braaksma earned her BA Magna Cum Laude from Metropolitan State College in Denver and did her graduate studies at the University of Minnesota.