The Solar Calendar Project will create an outdoor public art and education destination at Cesar E. Chavez Park on the waterfront in Berkeley, California. It will be installed on a 1.5 acre hilltop site with a stunning 360 degree panoramic view.
The architecture of this new destination will be in the form of an ancient solar calendar/sky observatory. It will serve as a novel educational installation to renew our connection with the earth, the seasons, and the cultural patterns that have evolved from the human relationship with nature.
Solar Calendars represent one of the oldest human means for determining seasonal time. They are found in all parts of the world and reflect some of our earliest achievements in astronomy, math and art. Their architectural expressions are often engineering wonders – e.g., Chichen Itza and Stonehenge.
The ability to develop these calendars, based on the apparent movement of objects in the sky, brought order and predictability to a sometimes hostile world, allowing farm workers to regulate planting and harvesting, celebration and ritual. As such, a solar calendar is a form eminently suited to honoring the founder of the United Farm Workers of America, and the park’s namesake, César E. Chávez.
As the various Design Phases and educational
programs unfold, at the physical site and virtually on the web site,
each will help develop an intriguing context for reflection on the subtleties
of nature, on ancient civilizations, and on environmental stewardship.