Montgomery Farm Cisterna A
Dee Brown, Inc.
Architect: Brad J. Goldberg, Inc.
Suppliers: Mezger Enterprises
Owner: Emerson Partners
Montgomery Farm is a 650-Acre planned development with 250 acres of dedicated open space and 85 acres designated as a nature preserve. To mark the development without the kind of ubiquitous development signage one typically sees, an artist was commissioned to provide a sense of identity that would speak for itself of the owner’s sustainable intentions.
Located on an existing creek, Cisterna became what the artist thinks of as a regionally specific, sustainable, multi-tasking work of sculpture which collects and stores surface runoff water from the surrounding watershed. The water is stored in an upper and lower pond separated by a sixty foot long native Texas Lueders limestone dam. Water in the lower pond is pumped up into the thirty-foot tall, Lueders limestone Cisterna and over its sides via power created by a 15 kilowatt wind turbine one hundred and thirty feet in the air. Energy created is net metered and grid tied to the local power utility creating a balance between the energy used by the pump and the energy created by the wind turbine.
Completely constructed of cubic stonework, Cisterna celebrates the art of stoneworking through a variety of hand processes, traditional techniques and an extreme attention to detail. The blocks of stone that form the conical shape of the windmill base were fabricated with radial–cut faces and splayed ends, with each successive course fabricated to different dimensions. The hand-pitched faces of the windmill base and the dam were executed at a fabrication plant and fine tuned during installation to create a perfect fit. Cubic Lueders limestone was also extensively utilized in the site work, as retaining walls, veneer around the pond’s edge, the weir of the dam, paving, steps and seatwalls. These site work features were entirely fabricated on site to form a completely integrated and custom appearance.
The process required a great amount of coordination between the stone masons and the quarry, as much of the work was improvised on site and as such, many of the stones to be used were ordered a piece at a time to respond to the site conditions as the work progressed. A great amount of attention was given to creating natural finishes and tight fitting joints between all of the stone work. In all, the project utilized approximately 500 tons of cubic Lueders limestone and installation was completed over a period of 8 months with a crew of five plus the artist.
All of the materials supplied for the entire project came from within a 250-mile radius of the site and trees were transplanted from other areas of the farm.
Cisterna has now become a beloved landmark for the local community.
Date of Project Completion: October 2007
Photography by Brad Goldberg