Great Lakes Pool

A generous contribution from the Kresge Foundation gave sculptor Glen Michaels the opportunity to design a unique pool for the first floor rotunda. Surrounding the base of the Michigan white pine, it symbolizes the crucial role nature played in shaping Michigan’s history.

Michaels created an immensely elaborate mosaic made of hundreds of pieces of fused colored glass. A dazzling display of blues, violets and greens swirl across the floor of the pool, replicating realistic aspects of water movement. Understanding the amount of dedication to the process of creating the pool floor adds to the viewer’s appreciation, as does experiencing the pool from both the indoor lower level and the outdoor upper level.

“Herringbone patterns cast on shoals by sunlight passing through surface eddies, ripples created by sudden upsurges and the sweep and flow of cross currents have been incorporated in stylized form in this glass surface,” says Michaels.

“The pool is emblematic of the beauty and power of the Great Lakes, as such, it takes its location at the very center of this building.”

Michaels is a sculptor from Troy, Michigan and also has works displayed at the Detroit People Mover’s Bricktown Station and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.