Artists Abound in Renovation

April 1, 2008

AUSTIN, TX - Grubb & Ellis Realty Investors LLC today announced details of a renovation project at 816 Congress Avenue that will feature several works of art, including a monumental installation by internationally renowned artist Barbara Strasen. 

The renovation, designed by STG Architects, will completely rework the plaza and lobby of the building - a project that also will include a painting triptych and related series by Kathryn Henneman, an acrylic and light work by Vasa Mihich, and a 16-foot sculpture by Harold Roach. Works of art will be on display in the plaza and lobby as well as several elevator lobbies and in the elevators themselves. The project is scheduled for completion next month.

Barbara Strasen's massive installation will extend over the span of the existing lobby light wall, which is 11.5 feet high and 66.5 feet across. There will be two contiguous panels within each section of the light wall (30 sections in all) for a total of 60 "lenticular panels" - a back-lit, translucent sheet of laminated plastic upon which multiple images are printed, viewable in varying combinations depending on the angle and distance from the panels. 

Strasen's artist statement reads, "The intention of this artwork is to fuse Austin and Texas history with its visual echoes in the present. Approximately half the images used will be from Texas' historical past: the rest will be images which represent the present, or are chosen to transition to the present. Texas has generated many national heroes and heroic myths, which help shape the collective identity of the country. This artwork will be done in the lenticular process, where the position of the viewer determines what images are seen and when."

"I became familiar with Strasen's work through her permanent, custom installation at the Sylmar Branch Library near Los Angeles," said Ross Crowe, Grubb & Ellis Realty Investors' Regional Asset Manager. "When we were considering artwork for 816 Congress I immediately thought Strasen would be a perfect fit to enhance the value of the property for tenants, investors and the community." 

Built in 1983 and significantly renovated in 1994, 816 Congress is a 433,000-square-foot Class A trophy office tower in the heart of downtown Austin. Located in the shadow of the historic Texas Capitol, tenants of the upper floors are afforded impressive views of the scenic national historic landmark. The property was recognized with an EnergyStar Award in 2003 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. 

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