Sculptures & Landscape

The NCRC offers employees and visitors a rich environment. The juxtaposition of man-made art set against natural landscape inspires both mind and body.

Sculptures: Liberation

Examples of  David Barr Art

“The forms of this sculpture and their relationships to each other express the search, the research, the persistence, the power and the evolution of the scientific process,” says internationally renowned sculptor David Barr.The NCRC is home to “Liberation,” a sculpture by David Barr. The work consists of nine separate objects or groups of objects near the main entrance to the primary building and scattered throughout the landscape. The large, gray pieces are carved out of the same block of Prairie Green granite from Canada. The egg is white marble from Vermont.

“The creative process expressed in this sculpture is the teasing out of solutions. Quite often in research, the scientist targets one thing – and in doing so, discovers another.”

Perhaps the most recognizable pieces from this body of work are those that stand just outside NCRC Building 18.

The inscription on the base of the egg is from the 13th century Sufi poet and mystic Rumi. It reads:  “The nature of reality is this:  It is hidden, it is hidden, and it is hidden.”

The Men-an-tol, or “hole in stone,” originated about 7,000 years ago, before Stonehenge, and was used as a sacred astronomical alignment and as a healing space. Infants were consecrated by being passed through the stone, the sick crawled through it and the betrothed held hands through the hole.

The engravings on the three upright stones refer to the production and calibration of quinine. The first engraving is the cinchona plant used to make quinine – the first effective treatment for malaria. The second engraving is the chemical structure of quinine. The third engraving takes the shape of a tablet.

The sculptor has hidden forged objects inside many of the individual sculptural pieces. The objects represent hidden keys that are unlocked by researchers who are looking for answers to society’s most pressing problems.


Landscape around NCRC

Deer, ducks, geese and a multitude of other wildlife enhance the peaceful atmosphere at the NCRC.

The 11-acre native landscape designed by Pollock Design Associates uses plants that have been growing in southeastern Michigan since before European settlers arrived in the 1700’s. Native plants are adapted to local climate and conditions, and they have many benefits including:Millers Creek flows throughout this parcel of land before traveling to the Huron River. A cattail wetland graces property. And a contemplative sculpture installation further embellishes the already beautiful prairie.

  • Reduction of storm water runoff
  • Reduction of hydro-carbon emissions from lawn mowing equipment
  • Reduction of annual maintenance costs by 50%
  • Elimination of irrigation
  • Reduction of fertilizer and broadleaf herbicide applications
  • Increase in plant and wildlife diversity

Seed was installed using a no-till drill with straw mulch for erosion control.