Dials of Interest
Sundials of significant interest either because of artisan, design, history, or placement. An unusal set of dials that should stir anyone's interest
On September 22, 2011 Penn State University dedicated a massive granite sundial donated by trustee and alumnus Joel Myers. Designed and sculptured by artist Mark Mennin, it is installed in the university's arboretum. At the dedication Myers said, "We wanted to create something unique...The sundial is to be a destination". Though still lacking a few final touches, such as a bit of polishing, the large granite dial is functional and tells time to the nearest minute.
[photo credit: Vincent Kessler]
A three dimensional sundial house? You can find it at 10 rue du Diebach, Cosswiller near Strasbourg in the countryside of Alsace in France. Eric Wasser has created the "Heliodome", a tilted circular building aligned with the earth's polar axis that is a far cry from the old Buckminister Fuller "Bucky Domes".
The house has a glassed southern exposure to allow sunlight during the winter, but from the equatorial belt forward the house has a nearly conventional roof providing shade during the summer. As Wasser explains on his website, "The passive solar house is an architectural volume, a Heliodome, determined by the diurnal and annual trajectory of the sun." Read more about the details at http://www.heliodome.com/equipe.html.
While using Google Maps, some artists living in the UK became unusual dialists when it occurred to them that the shadow cast by a skyscraper could be used as the gnomon of a really tall sundial.
The forty-seven story Beetham Tower in Manchester is 554 feet tall and dominates the city's skyline. So it occurred to Annie Harrison, Jude Macpherson and Jacqueline Wylie to use the shadow cast by this structure to chart the progress of the sun as part of an art project.
After more than a year of construction, the new Bowie City Hall and the Bowie Portal Dial off Evergreen Parkway and Emerald Avenue in Bowie, Maryland, will be dedicated on the 7th of May, 2011. The City Hall, Police Station along with two works of public art, an interior mobile and the 15-foot steel and bronze sundial will grace the City of Bowie
Gino and Judith Schiavone, members of the North American Sundial Society, are winners of the City of Bowie sundial contest to build and install a dial in front of the New City Hall under now construction. The value of the project is $90,000. Completion is expected in Oct 2010.
Southwind Park in Springfield Illinois is a National Model Park. It got its start in October 2004 when trustees accepted the donation of 80 acres of land just off South Second Street. Their website states "Our unique state-of-the-art park serves as a national model by proving a new dimensions of inclusion for all people." A park without boundaries that accomodates people in wheelchairs and visitors with special needs.
[photoCourtesy of the Wilkes Journal-Patriot]
Some sundial artisans and their work are instantly recognizable. Back in 2010 on the wall of the Yancey Times Journal building in Burnsville, North Carolina, astronomer Bob Hampton and artist Martin Weaver created the Quilt Block Sundial, an 8x8 foot vertical dial colorfully painted by volunteers from the Quilt Trails of North Carolina.
[photo courtesy of John Foad]
Many have been following the Prime time Emmy Award winning series Downton Abbey on PBS. This British World War I period drama was filmed on location at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, which represents the fictional Downton Abbey. Many outdoor scenes were filmed in the village of Bampton, Oxfordshire. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downton_Abbey )
As you follow the lives of aristocrats and servants in this acclaimed series, keep an eye out for sundials. Attached is a photo noticed by NASS member John Foad. Want to search for yourself? Look for the dial in front of the hospital. The full episodes of series #1 are available at PBS.org and the new series #2 is just starting.
And while you're at it, look for sundials in Foyle's War, Midsomer Murders, and Father Brown. You'll be surprise how many you find.