University of Alaska Fairbanks

Moore-Bartlett-Skarland Residence Complex

National Artist Search/Competition
Alaska State Council on the Arts

Design Competition Coordinator: Alaska State Council on the Arts

Raven: Sun Thief
31.8' w. by 8.8' h. overall

A central character in Athabaskan mythology, the mischievous Raven is said to have stolen sunlight from the spirit-world and given it to humans. Students entering this dormitory complex in the dark of winter are warmed by the retelling of the story of the Sun Thief.Gray, fluttering ‘feathers’ of the crafty Raven flutter across the doors and sidelights leading to the shared entry lobby of three high-rise dormitories. Amber opal bands of ‘stolen sunlight’ are radiate outward into the night, while concentric arcs circling the central ‘Sun/Moon’ imitate the paths traced by stars wheeling around Polaris. A night sky etched in blue on clear glass acknowledges the extreme variation of day and night at this latitude.

The disparity of scale and shape between narrowest of windows in the doors and large sidelights between them could have undermined the flow of the design. To visually minimize this disparity, a border and horizontal band that coincides with the varied window sills/bottoms and push plates were used to unify the composition. The opal amber bands that waft across the design are the same width as the slit windows to further soften inconsistent scale relationships among the two window shapes.

Materials: German mouthblown glass with etching, fire-polished lenses, lead, solder installed under tempered glass.