North, 2005

North is an integrated artwork for the new Canadian Embassy in Berlin. Noting that the Embassy is situated on the former east/west division of the city, I thought the site should have a new point of orientation: no longer east and west, but north. I addressed this by conceiving of the conical-shaped Timber Hall as a compass.

Suspended below the glass ceiling of the hall is an aluminum and dichroic glass compass rim. During the day the rim is seen as a combination of silhouette and blue glass. However, as the glass is dichroic, the colour seen is dependant on the angle of the sun shining upon it and varies from blue to magenta. At night the glass reflects a gold colour back into the space. When someone is in the space, they become aware of their position on Earth in relation to the sun and time of day, as opposed to that old political divide.

Directly below the rim is a wood inlay illustrating the ancient method form determining north in the night sky.

North, Canadian Embassy in Berlin, 2005
North in the morning. Photo: Karen Mills


North in early evening

North in early evening