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Rodef Shalom Kent Bloomer Sculpture Lecture


Rodef Shalom Congregation Kent Bloomer Sculpture Lecture

Architects Kent Bloomer and Doug Cooper, SoA Adjunct Faculty, will speak about the ornamental architecture piece designed by Bloomer for the Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh on Monday, 16 September 2019 from 4:00-6:00pm at Rodef Shalom.

In 1964, Bloomer and Dr. James Romauldi were the winners of a competition for their design in uniting the Congregation’s famed Henry Hornbostel building with the clean, horizontal design of the 1956 Freehof Hall addition. Both professors at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), they created a bas-relief with sculptural waves to catch the sunlight with an ever-changing pattern of shadows reflecting the sunlight. Bloomer, an architect, worked with Romauldi, a civil engineer, in developing a new form of concrete that eliminated the use of traditional reinforcing bars associated with concrete. The sculpture was first carved out of Styrofoam donated by the Dow Chemical Company. After cutting the blocks into 35 sections, the new product, Wirand, was applied and covered with a quartz-silicone aggregate material. Wirand, concrete mixed with millions of short, thin wire hairs is highly resistant to cracking, corrosion and other flaws and eliminates the need for conventional reinforcing bars. Originally off-white, the material presented as a sparkling, translucent surface. Over time, the ground-breaking material with its use of Wirand has maintained it integrity. What has deteriorated is the color and condition of the piece. Evaluated by a preservationist, it requires extensive work to save it for the future. The Congregation anticipates the restoration to begin Spring 2020.

Bloomer moved from Pittsburgh to Yale University in 1966. Retiring after 40 years at the school, he is currently an Adjunct Professor. He continues designing architectural ornamentation and public sculpture. Cooper is the Andrew Mellon Professor of Architecture at CMU. Combining story, history, and memory into panoramic murals, his pieces are installed throughout the world.

The event is sponsored in part by the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture. In-kind supporters include the Heinz History Center, the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, and Preservation Pittsburgh and its Pittsburgh Modern Committee.

Tickets for the event are $10.00. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Rodef Shalom website.