James Carpenter is a New York-based artist who has taught at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is well-known for creating works that use natural and artificial light to transform architectural spaces. Working with glass and steel, he emphasizes and often magnifies the movement of light through space while occasionally using water to animate the environment through sound. Mr. Carpenter has completed numerous projects throughout the United States, including work for the San Francisco International Airport, the Seven World Trade Center, as well as projects in Germany, Hong Kong, Australia, and Saudi Arabia. Among his many awards are the American Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award in 2008 and the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2004.
James Carpenter’s artwork consists of two fields of luminous objects in Shaw Alley which is the pedestrian passage lined with retail shops leading to a major entrance to the Transit Center. 54 illuminated pairs of cast acrylic resin glass pavers are set into the undulating wave pattern of the ceiling that reflect and a series of illuminated benches set into the pre-cast concrete floor create two planes of light, along the ceiling and the ground, which create a sense of movement and directionality that leads pedestrians along the axis of Shaw Alley through the Center. The sculptural elements respond to the constantly changing characteristics of the natural light and will create a viewing experience that heightens awareness of both the built and natural environments. Carpenter’s integrated sculpture creates a unique and dramatic landscape of light that elegantly defines the passage linking the Transbay Transit Center to the city.