Kempelen's Owls

Kempelen's Owls

NAPA and the Art in Public Program (AIPP) of the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division are proud to announce Kempelen’s Owls, a forthcoming permanent public artwork in downtown Austin, TX. The installation which will be located at the intersection of West 2nd and Nueces Streets, is slated for completion in 2019, and is being commissioned for the Green Water Development project.

Inspired by the 18th-century robotics of Wolfgang Von Kempelen, Kempelen’s Owls will be an interactive sculpture that fosters curiosity. Two Texan great horned owls, each standing ten feet tall and constructed of layered metal and composite materials, will perch atop dodecahedrons (12-sided geometric shapes) and silently observe their surroundings. The interactive features of the work are hidden, awaiting discovery by visitors who can activate them to trigger movement in the owls.

NAPA believes public art should be public from conception to completion, thus creating a resource for innovation and the creative economy. As such the project will be AIPP’s first ever fully open-sourced permanent public artwork, with all of the concepts, designs, contracts and methods being made available to the public under a Creative Commons license.

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Initial Progress and Prototypes

3D Models

We are modeling the entire work in Autodesk Fusion 360. As the project progresses we'll be sharing specific components and solutions for you to download. 
For now please enjoy this simplified model showing the general scale of the work.

Kempelen's Owls - Design Book


Learn more about the conceptual origins, design process, and collaborators in the Kempelen's Owls - Design Book. The book takes you step-by-step through our creative process and influences for this project and includes hi-res renderings of the work. 

Looking to print the book? Contact us and we'll send you a link to a hi-res version.

Kempelen's Owls
New American Public Art
Block 188, Austin Texas