The campus has several notable pieces of art and sculpture, and significant landmarks.
Big Blue Clock
Since the fall of 2009, a six-foot-by-six-foot digital clock known as Big Blue has kept time on the third floor of the Buell Building. The clock was designed and assembled as part of a senior project in engineering technology by four students who earned bachelor's degrees in engineering technology in 2009 – Anthony Castelluci, Jason D'Antimo, Luciano Mancini, and Daniel Peraino. The clock might more appropriately be called Big Green, since it draws just 10 watts of power, barely more than a night light.
A focal point of the campus quadrangle, redeveloped in 2006, is a water feature that defies description as a typical fountain.
“Our intent was to design a campus landmark in keeping with ecological principals that would be a nice outdoor location for students and faculty to interact,” said Mark Hieber, landscape architect for Harley Ellis Devereaux, the firm which designed both the A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center and the renovated quadrangle.
“The stones comprising the fountain plaza are basalt boulders harvested from the Upper Peninsula,” Hieber said.
In the center of the plaza is a 12-ton boulder. The arcing line of the Taubman Center façade and the elliptical perimeter of the quad meet at this boulder, cleaving it in half as the arc passes through the center. Twelve seat-height boulders ring the fountain plaza.
Designed with conservation in mind, the fountain consumes minimal water. A series of high pressure water jets create a mist that emanates from the split center boulder. At night, compact LED lights illuminate the mist and make it glow.
“The plaza design is a metaphor for learning,” Hieber said. “Knowledge is acquired over time hours or months -- represented by the 12 boulders that form the circle. The fog and light emitting from the central boulder represent that ‘aha!’ moment when knowledge becomes understanding and new ideas are formed.”
Dedicated to College of Engineering alumni in 1981, this piece was donated by the Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi - Michigan Eta Chapter.
This brass and steel sculpture, with copper and ferric nitrate patina, was created in 1980 and was originally commissioned by A. Alfred Taubman for the Lord & Taylor court of Ann Arbor's Briarwood Mall. It was relocated to Lawrence Tech's skylighted library garden in the Buell Building in 2017.
The artist is Jon Rush (b. 1935), an American artist who taught sculpture, drawing, and three-dimensional design at the University of Michigan from 1962 to 2006. He established the school’s first foundry, trained students in lost wax and investment casting processes, and created three public sculptures for U-M and two for the city of Ann Arbor. He was a graduate of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and is known best for his abstract geometric work in aluminum, steel, resin, acrylic, bronze, and granite.
Henry Ford Bust
This work was dedicated in April 2017, a gift of the Henry Ford Trade School Alumni Association. The sculptor is Mino Kramer, who has extensive experience in commissioned sculpture, limited editions and monumental bronzes for commercial and personal sites. Her other works include a sculpture of a young Thomas Edison along the St. Mary’s River in Port Huron.
Henry Ford opened a trade school in 1916 that would eventually enroll nearly 3,000 students. Henry Ford and his son Edsel were also instrumental in the creation of LTU in 1932 on the automaker’s Highland Park campus – and one of the first acts of LTU founder Russell Lawrence was to create a scholarship fund for Trade School graduates.
This piece, located at the center of the University Quadrangle, was installed in 2009 as part of the building of the A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center. Taubman donated the sculpture, designed by Beverly Pepper (b. 1922), an award-winning American sculptor known for her large steel sculptures and totem figures. Besides the United States, Pepper has commissioned pieces in Italy, Japan, Israel, France, Sweden, Spain, and Australia.
The sculpture’s name refers to William of Ockham, a 14th Century English philosopher associated with Ockham’s Razor, a principle of scientific inquiry that postulates that the simplest explanation is probably the best.
The sculpture stands about 24 feet tall and weighs 3,000 pounds.
Student organizations paint the rock at impromptu moments.