Sand Sculpture and Architects

Lisa was part of this 4 person sand sculpting team that created a mash-up of 7 great architectural wonders on a Miami beach.


Somewhere between the Stone Age and the Computer Age, architects found it really useful to create their design ideas in sand to study the form and scale before finalizing their drawings.  Sand is much easier to find and work with than clay, and they only needed it to stand long enough to study how the parts would fit together and contemplate the overall composition.

Sand Sculpture has evolved to something of an athletic performance art, where sculptors pound up dozens or even hundreds of tons of sand and carve their art live for audiences on beaches around the world, and even cities!  Most of these events take place over a day or up to a week as an exhibition or contest.  Sand sculpture has become so popular, the Travel Channel has created a reality show called SandMasters, where some of the world’s best travel the world building extreme designs for businesses or special events.

Bee of LifeMy professional sand sculpture experience began in the middle of a city!  Lucid 9 Design was asked about 13 years ago to be a “team architect” at an event called “Sand in the City“.  Relying on my design experience and a bit of sculpting coursework at The Evergreen State College, I was trained, along with the teams and other architects, by the owner of Sand in the City, Bert Adams.  An MIT electrical engineering graduate, Bert left the corporate engineering world to form Sand in the City, a business that helps non-profits raise money through the fun and teamwork of sand sculpture.  Since then, I’ve been involved in Sand in the City‘s community-based events in Olympia and Portland.  Sculpting with other architects and artists at these events opened the door to team competition at the beaches of Washington, Oregon and beyond, currently on team Wabi Sabi.  Sometimes, businesses or sand sculpting events will invite me to sculpt in cities and beaches around the world.

IMG_0875Most people are astonished that we can build these huge sculptures out of 20 – 50 tons of sand, or more, from a few feet high to 15 feet or taller and have it all stay together for days or weeks using only sand and water.  Then they want to know if I will be sad to see it taken down, especially at the beach where the tide will come in that afternoon and take it all away.  I tell them that  the joy of it is in the process of sculpting and watching people’s reactions.  We always get some good photos, too.  It’s a bit like the Tibetan or Navaho sand mandalas that are released to the winds or waters just after finishing, an acknowledgement of the momentary nature of all things material.

Lucid 9 Design is available for sand sculpture projects wherever you are.  Sand is great for:

  • Fundraising events
  • Corporate events
  • Parties
  • Concerts/festivals
  • Marriage proposals
  • Business marketing
  • Lessons available too, for camps, schools, senior centers, etc.
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