Tom Ralston Concrete was asked to help design the proposed Roundabout in front of the Santa Cruz Wharf near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Rather than using arrows that seemed unattractive and industrial I thought we could use dolphins that would point traffic in the correct direction of the flow of traffic. There are also traffic islands around the roundabout centerpiece that would be set in a nautical genre using an antique amber color with black barnacles and green seaweed.
Aesthetically the dolphins had beach glass, seashells, aquarium sand and each had a custom hand ground abalone eye. Each dolphin was acid stained in a particular way that gave them a very variegated and organic look.
The dolphins were made in 3-sizes: 8’; 6’; and 4’. The 8’ dolphins weighed almost 1000 LBS and had to be trucked in from our yard where they were constructed and then craned in starting at dark so that traffic would be less of an issue. We made break away forms so that when we lifted the dolphins only the two pieces of plywood remained for the straps that surrounded them for hoisting. All of the dolphins were placed on strategically placed pillars that were sloped toward the street. These pillars allowed the concrete to flow around and under each dolphin for additional strength and support. We poured a proprietary mix around the dolphins as well and then moved on to building and creating the 12-splinter islands around the roundabout.
Each island had multi-colored acid staining and used starfish, shells and small pebbles. Acid staining in veins on most of these surfaces that had steep grades made them like vertical concrete. Meandering through the mounds were rocks; four different varieties of large flat rock were turned on their sides and used to wind up and down throughout the mounds. They look like rock outcroppings on a windswept cliff but they twisted around in somewhat of a serpentine way.
Concrete has provided an art piece with function; this project can also serve to lift the soul and psyche of many of the harried individuals in traffic at the Beach Boardwalk.