Located on the exterior entrance wall to the Frank A. Forward Building, the sculpture was commissioned by UBC for the new building in 1968. The architects, McCarter, Nairne & Partners, asked Norris to design a work that would accentuate the building’s entrance, which was otherwise difficult to locate. Norris wanted to integrate the artwork with both the design of the building and its purpose, providing a home for the University’s Department of Metallurgy.
Norris’ abstract brick mosaic references a crystalline atomic structure with hexagonal symmetry. This design is an artistic interpretation of a mineral compound such as zinc, emerald or ice, all of which are six-fold in character. Norris made many of the bricks himself and impressed designs upon them with metallic components to create pattern and texture.
Frank Forward, after whom the building was named, was a pioneer in metallurgy and the Head of the University’s Department of Metallurgy from 1945 to 1964. In the early 1990s the Department changed its name to Materials Engineering.
See Mother and Child for a biography of George Norris.
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