What is “Latitude”?

latitude_smallImagine that you could walk around the world, starting at Capital Community College and remaining at 41° 7’ north latitude until you returned to your starting point in downtown Hartford, CT. That’s the concept behind “Latitude” – a truly unique sculpture located in Capital’s 5-story high central Atrium. Latitude3

Mounted along the outer edge of Latitude are silhouettes of the places you could visit if you were able to actually make the conceptual journey. Chicago, the Rocky Mountains, Japan, the Gobi Desert, and Rome, among many other locales, are all represented along with Hartford, which is depicted in gold leaf.

But Latitude is more than an unconventional map, it is also a kinetic timepiece. The entire ring moves at the rate of one rotation every 24 hours – in sync with the Earth’s rotation. When the gold silhouette is at the apex of the timepiece, that indicates that it is noon here in Hartford.

Commissioned by the State of Connecticut for Capital Community College,latitudeDetails
“Latitude” was designed by the firm of Helmick & Schecter, of Newton, MA,

latitude2


LATITUDE

27′ diameter 6″w

collaboration with Stuart Schechter
material: steel/aluminum
architect: S/L/A/M Collaborative
site: Capital Community College, Hartford, Connecticut
commissioned by State of Connecticut for Capital Community College through the Department of Public Works and the Commission on Culture and Tourism

Latitude encourages new ways of perceiving the world and experiencing location as part of a geographic and temporal continuum.

An unusual timepiece, Latitude is supported on two cross beams in Capital Community College’s soaring five-story atrium. The steel ring moves slowly and silently in synch with the earth, completing one rotation every 24 hours. Each day at noon the gold-leafed silhouette of the city of Hartford arrives at the topmost position.

Latitude is also a map, albeit a fanciful one, and provides a gentle geography lesson. The city of Hartford is located at 41˚7′ north latitude. Affixed to the ring are filigreed aluminum symbols alluding to locales around the globe that share this latitude. They provide context in the form of a “slice of life” of which Capital Community College is a part.