The Scramble, a new interactive art installation in downtown Chattanooga

The Scramble all lit up | Photo provided by River City Co.

A new art installation has us ready to scramble downtown to play.

The unique project, called The Scramble, serves multiple purposes, and pays homage to everything from the area’s natural resources to Chattanooga’s climbing culture.

This new installation aims to do a few things:

  • Build upon the city’s art and nature concept for the downtown area
  • Make use of an innovative stormwater collection and filtration system
  • Serve as a connection from Walnut Plaza to the Aquarium along 1st Street. (Longtime residents may remember the project’s location as where the incline elevator used to be.)

The installation

“The Scramble is a striking interactive sculpted streetscape repurposing the former funicular vault infrastructure into an innovative stormwater collection and filtration system. [It] captures and aerates urban stormwater, cleansing it before it joins the Tennessee River, and uses it for irrigation instead of potable water.” – Michael Singer, designer of The Scramble

Fast facts:

  • Utilizes locally cut stone from nearby Sequatchie County
  • Has swirl patterns to reference the movement of water and the Tennessee River
  • References angular rock outcroppings in the region with its sculpted landscape
  • Visually + experientially ties to the nature themes of the Aquarium Plaza
  • Climbing and scrambling aspects are an homage to Chattanooga’s climbing culture
  • Visually link to the other parts of the city with angular design, like the architecture of the Hunter Art Museum

The artist

The Scramble was created by Michael Singer, a world-renowned artist + sculptor who has received numerous awards for his work, which has an emphasis on reimagining public spaces for urban and ecological regeneration.

For The Scramble, folks are encouraged to enjoy and utilize the installation as an area to climb and explore. Read a more in-depth description + view renderings here.

Singer designed The Scramble so that the captured stormwater would be an auditory experience, — it can be seen and heard — but otherwise, the water is inaccessible.

The project concept started in 2016 and over the past four years, River City Company worked in a public/private partnership with the City of Chattanooga, Public Art Chattanooga, The Lyndhurst Foundation, and The Benwood Foundation to select the artist and complete construction.