Project Description

“Gertie’s Ghost”

A Permanent Exterior Sculptural Installation for the Tacoma, Washington Pacific Avenue Gateway
Website :: Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority

“Gerties Ghost” will consist of 8 large-scale arch segments, in a style evocative of classic railroad truss bridges, and which by its very nature is suggestive of connection between the here and now; past into future. Approaching from any of the surrounding neighborhoods by train, by car or on foot, passerby will see in the arches a familiar reflection of the Tacoma Dome, a nod to the classic lines of downtown’s Union Station and an aesthetic homage to the classic industrial trussed bridge.

While we don’t condone octopus wrestling, we were inspired by the stories that we uncovered surrounding Tacoma’s faceted past. The overall design of “Gertie’s Ghost” will be inspired by the mythical 600 pound octopus that theoretically lives in the submerged ruins of the Tacoma Narrows bridge. Eight Octopus tentacles will rise out of the ground; an abstract representation of the “Ghost of Galloping Gertie” climbing straight out of the City’s historical roots and into the future.

Fabricated of heavy steel, angle iron, plate and rivets, and solidly anchored in concrete, “Gerties Ghost” is built on a scale commensurate with Tacoma’s industrial past and in keeping with the surrounding landscape.

Sound Transit’s Public Art Program (STart) has selected Engineered Artworks to create a site-responsive gateway artwork for a new entry to downtown Tacoma, Washington near Sound Transit’s Pacific Avenue Underpass, which is part of its renovated commuter rail extension. This call is being managed by the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program.

Tacoma, Washington has turned its downtown core into one of the richest cultural districts in Washington State. Sound Transit’s inaugural light rail system connects Tacoma’s Theater District, Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass, Washington State History Museum, and University of Washington Tacoma campus with the Tacoma Dome entertainment center and the new LeMay: America’s Car Museum. The nearby Dome District and Brewery District are walkable urban-living neighborhoods with art galleries and artist studios.

Sound Transit has recently extended its Seattle-Tacoma commuter rail line from the Dome District to South Tacoma, and by doing so, created a new entry to the southern edge of the museum-rich downtown area framed by the Pacific Bridge overpass and the earth berm that elevates the rail line. As part of this large capital project, Sound Transit is commissioning a landmark Gateway artwork from Engineered Artworks to mark this new entrance to downtown Tacoma.