US Census Bureau

The U.S. General Services Admission Art in Architecture Program commissioned this integrated landscape work to celebrate the work of the Census Bureau while also providing a simulating outdoor environment for employees and visitors. Through numerical symbols, words, images, and forms that invite interaction, articulating our human histories was my primary concern when creating this work for the United States Bureau of Census. In my work for the Census Bureau, the abstract concept of data and numerical representation is transformed into its original role as a system invented to promote, stimulate, and record human interaction. The numbers zero through nine tell the story of counting and are used to create a passage that connects the original house for the census data, Suitland House, at the “number 1” area with the other seven acres of the site. A series of numerical forms and structures throughout the grounds introduce the history of census and provides seating and visual gathering places for the ten thousand employees of the building.

The integrated art/landscape reflects the cultural diversity of the United States. For this work, I have incorporated a variety of different numerical systems to represent the diverse cultures of the United States, including Mayan, Sumerian, Chinese, Persian, Roman numerals and many more. This diversity of ancient and modern numbers reflects the many immigrants that have come to this county and contributed to its ever- changing profile. A large area of the walls has also been devoted to the counting systems of the Native American peoples of the United States. It is appropriate to begin the passage of the numbers walk with the counting system of the original inhabitants of this nation. I have also created several tiles that I call “shadow figures.” These tiles represent the millions of uncounted people, now and throughout history, who have made the United States their home.

Ink on paper Census