project overview

Roof Like A Fluid Flung Over the Plaza - Downtown Memphis

A swathe of something - it could almost be a liquid - swoops out from under the glass overhang above the entrance to the building. It’s as if a liquid has been flung out from under, and frozen in the air.
— Vito Acconci

Roof Like Fluid Flung Over the Plaza designed by Acconci Studio was inspired by the whirls and eddies of the Mississippi River as seen from the bluffs of Downtown Memphis. The project is a mirrored, stainless steel canopy that provides shelter, while simultaneously bringing the sky into the plaza and the plaza into the sky. Funnels rise up out of the canopy and sweep down to the ground providing gathering spaces with seating.

The downward funnels are acoustically sound and function as small performance spaces that play off the larger function of the site as a performance hall and honoring the history of music in Memphis.  A description of the project by Vito Acconci: "A swathe of something - it could almost be a liquid - swoops out from under the glass overhang above the entrance to the building. It's as if a liquid has been flung out from under, and frozen in the air. The swathe is a flow, a curve, an undulation, that sweeps across the plaza out to the corner; it's subjected to gravity, and descends toward the ground as it flows, rolling like waves. The flow is embodied, the liquid is solidified, into a gob, a glob, a blob that functions as a roof; a far-flung roof over the plaza".

The project was highlighted at the annual Americans for the Arts conference in the Public Art Network's Year In Review in 2004. 

about the artist

Vito Acconci

Vito Acconci was born in 1940 in New York City where he continues to live and work.  Acconci began his career as a poet, but ultimately became known for his work as an artist.  The influential, provocative and often radical art-making practices of Vito Acconci have earned him international recognition. He has been a vital presence in contemporary art since the late 1960s, and his confrontational and ultimately political works have evolved from writing through conceptual art, bodyworks, performance, film, video, multimedia installation and architectural sculpture. Since the late 1980s he has focused on architecture and design projects. His portfolio of past works explores the mediums of photography, performance art, and sculpture. Roof Like Fluid Flung Over the Plaza in Memphis is an example of Acconci's work bridging the realms of sculpture and performance art as well as the roles of viewer and participator.