Project: Solid Surface Fountain
Client: Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute
Patrick Air Force Base
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Fabricator: The Pinske Edge
The violent and nonviolent disorders of the late 1960's in the United States served as catalyst to convince military leaders that education on race relations ought to be provided to every member of the armed forces. To that end, an interservice task force was formed to examine causes and find possible cures for racial strife within the services.
The findings of this task force led to the creation of the Defense Race Relations Institute in 1971. Its name was later changed to the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) to include issues of sexual harassment, sexism, extremism, religious accommodations, and anti-Semitism.
As the scope of operations at DEOMI increased, so did the need for more space and modernized facilities. In April of 2002, at a price tag of $13.6 million, construction began on a new 92,000 sq. ft. two-story campus for DEOMI at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Fla. On January 14, 2004, the new structure was officially opened, boasting a new library, state-of-the-art auditorium and classrooms. The focal centerpiece of the new building is an 8-ft. high fountain constructed entirely of solid surface, and whose design echoes that of the official DEOMI seal.
"It took 22 sheets of Dawn Beige Corian to fabricate the fountain," says Tom Pinske, whose company, The Pinske Edge, fabricated and installed the lobby centerpiece. "The designer had the basic drawing of the fountain itself, but we had to engineer sizing the pump and the lights down in the bottom that shine into the water, not to mention making sure the water runs properly. That was on top of the solid surface fabrication."
Since there is not a square corner or straight line present anywhere in the design of the fountain, every piece of solid surface had to be thermoformed using specially constructed jigs prior to fitting and assembly. To fabricate 2-in. bullnose edges, the material was glued up and machined first, then thermoformed to shape.
"There is a tank in the bottom with a center ring about 3-ft. in diameter," explains Pinske. "In the middle are five rings in different colors of acrylic, which represent elements of their seal. The center of the circle comes down to about 1-ft. 6-in., and then there is a tapered tower rising up from that. On top of the tower is the lamp of knowledge. It looks like a teapot, but they call it the lamp of knowledge. In the spout of the lamp there is a little flicker light that looks like a flame coming out of the lamp."
To complete the elements of the design, the DEOMI name and logo are inlaid into a foot-wide ledge at the base of the structure, which echo blue wedges inlaid into the bottom of the fountain's tank. Lying inside the tank are representations of a scale, a sword and three arrows all coated in gold leaf.
"We had to come with a source for all that artwork," Pinske says. "I was wondering how to get it done and remembered my son is an artist living in Cape Cod. So I called him up and he was able to do it. It is really something."
According to Pinske, there are 300 hours of shop fabrication time in the project. Installation, on the other hand, took a little more than one day. "We couldn't get it into the building in one piece, so we had to split the base, and the top ring. The cap also had to be split and seamed together at the jobsite."