Sculpture to land in
with "Spaceship Earth" globe at Marina
By Kristin Bender, STAFF WRITER
BERKELEY -- Four years after the "Spaceship Earth"
sculpture for late environmentalist David Brower was commissioned,
it looks like the 175-ton stone globe will land permanently at
the Berkeley Marina.
Brower was the first executive director of the Sierra
Club and founded Friends of
the Earth and Earth
Island Institute. He also was one of the formative rock climbers
in the United States. He lived most of his life in Berkeley and
died at age 88, Nov. 5, 2000.
That year, Finnish-American
sculptor Eino was commissioned by the late Brian
Maxwell, the founder of PowerBar, to create the 15-foot by
20-foot polished, rare Brazilian blue quartzite globe. Eino called
the sculpture "the most technically challenging piece"
he had ever done.
But finding a home for the hefty work may have been the bigger
The sculpture weighs 350,000 pounds, as much as 175 baby elephants
or about 70 military Humvees. It was designed in 88 separate
wedges and includes more than 1,400 individual pieces of cast
bronze that will be affixed in seven clusters to represent the
A bronze likeness of Brower -- with arms outstretched to protect
the globe -- will be affixed near its top.
According to background information, the piece shows the progress
Brower has made throughout his life. The term "Spaceship
Earth," often used by Brower, refers to all humanity traveling
through life within a common vehicle.
Earth" is awaiting its
final landing pad at a San Francisco warehouse.
Several other cities expressed interest in accepting the sculpture,
said David Phillips of the Earth Island Institute.
And Eino himself was once partial to a site in the Marin headlands
because he felt Brower would have wanted to be near the ocean
and surrounded by barren hills. Washington, D.C. was also considered
because Brower's environmental work was felt throughout the nation.
Later this month, the Berkeley City Council is scheduled to
direct the Civic Arts Commission, the Waterfront Commission and
the city manager to accept the piece, free of charge, from the
Maxwell family and place it in the Berkeley Marina or another
suitable location, said Mayor Tom Bates.
"This is where David Brower is from," Bates said.
"He lived in the hills, was a rock-solid member of our community,
supported candidates in every election and took positions in
every election. He is a Berkeley person."
Bates said the city is considering a turnaround circle on
Spinnaker Way near Csar Chvez park for its final home.
There may be some challenges because the area is on fill.
Jennifer Maxwell, Brian Maxwell's widow, said she wants to
see the sculpture in Berkeley, according to a recent letter to
Bates. The Maxwell family has financed the sculpture and will
back its completion and installation, the letter states.
In May, the council gave developers a green light to draw
up plans to replace a downtown parking lot with a $47
million green building complex honoring Brower. But don't
expect to see Eino's Earth-shaped sculpture there.
"The problem is the plaza is not big enough to take it,"
Bates said. "It wouldn't fit ... otherwise that would be
my first choice."
The idea for the project came in 2000 while Maxwell and the
Rowell, a well-known nature photographer and adventure, were
running in the East Bay hills.
They were discussing nature and conservation when Rowell proposed
the idea to honor Brower -- known as one of the most influential
conservationists since John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. Maxwell
approached longtime friend Eino about doing the piece, then Brower
gave his blessing to the idea.
Eino flew to Berkeley and visited with the ailing Brower for
hours. The two talked about everything, even what his likeness
should be wearing.
But the two never determined where the monument should go.
That was left to future leaders. "We are going to get a
wonderful treasure for our city," Bates said. "I want
to find the proper place for it."
Argus - Monday, July 12, 2004 - http://www.theargusonline.com