Ribbons of Gaudi-inspired steel ripple above the river

By the time I started this blog, most of the public art projects on the Museum Reach of the river seemed like old-hat. That is not to say the art is stale; I love it. I walked along there only this morning.

But I think the newest addition, a design inspired by balconies on a Gaudi apartment building in Barcelona, is by far the most stunning.

I already was a George Schroeder fan. Even though the stoplight is outrageously prolonged, I find myself driving south down New Braunfels, cutting across Funston and sitting at the intersection on Broadway to admire his entryway to Brackenridge Park. Its lines are so sensual and distracting, the poor car behind me generally is forced to honk.

I’ve become more of a Mission Reach kind of girl, but watching the installation of the railings on the Camden Street Bridge keeps drawing me back to that part of the river. That, and the fact there are no b-share stations south of Blue Star.

Steve Bennett of the Express-News wrote such a great story about the sculpture, I simply will defer to him:

“The whole design is based on the river,” says Schroeder…. Like a lot of Schroeder’s monumental public sculpture, such as “Passage” at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, “River Movement” was inspired partly by wanderlust.

“When I do these projects,” he says, “I try to make something that is drawn from my international travels. I try to bring something from that back to San Antonio.”

A longtime admirer of iconoclastic Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí‘s sinuous 1912 building Casa Milá, also known as La Pedrera (The Quarry) for its undulating limestone walls, Schroeder finally got a chance to see it in person during a trip to Barcelona…..

“The tangled-up metal (on the balustrades) looked very organic, an integral part of the building. So I kept that inspiration and drew on it for this project.”

My favorite part of Steve’s story is his assessment of the importance of this work:

What he’s done is create another San Antonio landmark that will endure for decades, a work that mimics, in an abstract way, the ripples on the water and the breeze blowing through the plants on the banks, even the wakes of the tourist-laden barges that cruise by regularly.

And, my other favorite part: I had not realized there was more to come. The San Antonio River Foundation also is funding more of Schroeder’s work at Newell. 


And while you are in the neighborhood, don’t forget to look upward for the Jesus Moroles stellae….

November 11, 2011, Update: So often when I walk this part of the river, it is barely light. But yesterday morning, I waited for it to warm up a bit. The bright morning sun reflected from the rippling river onto the underside of the bridge makes Schroeder’s design inspiration even more obvious.  


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