Palo Alto, CA

Richard Deutsch


Richard Deutsch, an American sculptor was federally commissioned to create a public sculpture for the Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Palo Alto. His vision was to create experiential, lyrical environment to promote healing.

The final design was a central sculpture composed of seven large interconnected steel rings reaching 38 feet in the air, surrounded by vertical granite slabs which rise out of the earth standing up to 12 feet tall.

Many sculptures are simultaneously feats of art and modern engineering. Richard Deutsch describes this collaboration between artist adn engineer: “The distinction between sculptor and engineer can be blurred, particularly when a sculpture is composed of engineered structures.”

Matt Frantz, Senior Associate, heads up ZFA’s sculpture practice and has worked on projects with Mr. Deutsch since 2012. “To ensure we got things right, we utilized a 3D model during the engineering process,” said Matt. “There were some unexpected challenges which arose, such as how to support the vertical granite slabs, and the interconnection of the steel rings, but collaborating with the artist, we found a sound, elegant solution to both.”

The granite slabs were massive, each weighing as much as 33,000 pounds. They also tapered towards the base offering only a narrow edge on which to anchor and balance them. The ZFA team elected to utilize stainless steel rods to provide stability while not splitting the granite. To create the seven interlocking oval CoreTen steel rings, the team collaborated with Tesla Motors and worked with their specialized diamond wire saw.

Triumph is situated in front of the Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center and welcomes all who pass by.