Twin PHI Columns at Rock Quarry Park, Durham NC

Twin PHI Columns at Rock Quarry Park

commissioned by Durham Parks & Recreation

by Vandorn Hinnant

Materials: Powder coated aluminum


*three-fold symmetry column is 144 inches tall x 46 inches max. diameter

*five-fold symmetry column is 144 inches tall x 36 inches max. diameter

Date: 2022

In the artist’s own words…

The word phi is used to represent the phenomena of the Golden Proportion, a.k.a. the Golden Mean or the Golden Ratio. This proportion is found throughout nature and is inherent in the architectures of all that grows including the relationship between our sun and the planets in our solar system. It is said that the spiral pathways of stars in our galaxy are arranged in what is referred to as a golden spiral.

I employ this proportional phenomenon in all that I do. This way, the harmonic spatial frequencies found throughout Nature’s bounty are present and contribute to our sense of well-being either at a conscious level or they are sensed intuitively and experienced subconsciously.

One of my artist friends suggested these twin columns stand as sentinels at the entrance of the park. That thought immediately brought to my mind the notion of guardian angels.

The Fibonacci numbers (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21) are present in these twin columns. We have the number 1 (one each sphere in yellow), then the number 2 (the additional ‘stations’ in yellow on each column) to go with the number 3 (three vertical elements in one column), the number 5 (five vertical elements in the other column) with the next Fibonacci number being 8 (the marriage of the three verticals of one column with the five verticals of the other column). We add 5 plus 8 to get 13 (the overall height being 13 feet tall). The additional 12” height of the concrete pad takes the overall height up to 13 feet. Then we add 8 plus 13 to get another number in the Fibonacci sequence; 21. The distance from the far left footprint of the left column to the distance to the far right footprint of the right column is 21 feet. The PHI proportion is there in many of the dimensions and relationships between elements of the twin columns.

The colors chosen are inviting, welcoming visitors, and serving as a year-round reminder of sunlight and nature.

Standing with the Twin Phi Columns after installation at Rock Quarry Park on 28 January 2022