525 Golden Gate Avenue
Ned Kahn’s Rain Portal is located inside the lobby of the new Public Utilities building. Kahn’s Firefly graces the exterior of the building and you can read about it here.
Rain Portal seeks to permeate an interior architectural wall with rain. Drops of water falling inside of an undulating polycarbonate membrane suggests the endless cycle of evaporation and precipitation.
According to Kahn, “One of the paradoxes of the Rain Portal is that much of the entire history of architecture can be viewed as the endeavor to keep rain out. Here we have invited it in.”
The installation covers two walls located on either side of the lobby stairway. The installation is a self-sustaining system that continuously recycles water to create the illusion of rain inside the clear polycarbonate wall panels. The extruded polycarbonate has multiple cells of plastic that through which water is pumped up from a reservoir at the bottom of the panels and released as small drops into the top. The artwork was dedicated with the opening of the building in June 2012.
The installation of Rain Portal cost $24,800, and was done by Gizmo Art Productions. I was unable to find what the piece itself cost.
These two plaques are not part of Ned Kahn’s installation, but rather part of the buildings effort to be one of the foremost water conscious buildings in the world. An important reminder while California enters another year of sever drought.