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University Of Oregon Stainless Steel Mosaic

Contrarian Micro Textures

The University of Oregon in Eugene showcased a first of its kind mural that is made of etched stainless steel and forms a picture of Albert Einstein. The etched steel mosaic is comprised of photographs of Oregon student athletes that were taken by photographer, Basil Childers, who spent a year capturing the images on campus.

The sculpture graces the new John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes at UO. The center was designed to provide an array of resources, including advice, tutoring, study space and computer access. Simply put, the building is a place for student athletes to focus on academics. Much of the impetus behind the center originated with businessman Phil Knight, who saw the need for such a place and provided funding for the project.

The design was conceived by Randy Stegmeier and his collaboration with Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, Portland. Beyond the functionality of the building, the project creates a presence for the entrance to the University of Oregon campus without imposing too strongly on the surrounding cityscape. The generous use of glass creates a translucent effect and understates the visual weight of the structure itself. The Jaqua Center sports many environmentally sensitive features, including a double-walled envelope that moderates the building’s temperature in concert with water piped in from an outdoor reflecting pool.

The interior focuses on allowing the visitor a varied experience during each visit. Graphics are infused within the built environment in a subtle way; providing a richness that engages the user in a different way time and time again. The Einstein wall for example may require several visits before Einstein’s likeness is apparent within the mosaic.

The mural is comprised of 3,000 individual photographs of campus scenes and student athletes and is displayed in approximately 1200 sq. ft. of stainless steel provided by Contrarian Metal Resources through their partner, Tsukiboshi Art Ltd. Together the etchings of photographs form the image of Albert Einstein. Advanced computer controlled laser technology combined with sophisticated chemical etching techniques were used to create the art work.

“CMR’s graphic capabilities are apparent in the crisp execution of the design team’s vision,” said a project statement issued by Contrarian. “This is a great example of how Contrarian’s knowledge and problem solving skills help designs become reality.

CMR’s extensive line of interior and exterior colorized, coined, embossed and etched stainless may be used in a variety of applications and Contrarian’s product consultants are available to assist with the best choices for any project. “Contrarian Metal Resources is thrilled to be a part of this cutting edge application of graphic stainless technology” explained Jim Halliday, CMR President, when he attended the opening earlier this year.

About Contrarian Micro Textures

Rigidized-logoContrarian Micro Textures by Rigidized Metals, formerly Contrarian Metal Resources, is a micro-textured line of high-performance architectural metals including stainless steel and titanium. For more information, visit

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