“Why use a 4x4 to hold something up when I could use a V8 engine instead? Especially if that engine is coming out of a landfill somewhere.” Artist Tom Teitge (rhymes with Tai Chi) built his house in Kauai from salvage. There was a garage here once, until Tom stood a forty foot pole up through the roof, then hung his unique beam structure off that central pole.
The ground floor is studio space, the second floor the living quarters, and the third floor is an open air loft. The roof is suspended by cables. “I love metalwork” says Tom, “I love everything about it, the heat, the sparks…”. His welded sculptures adorn the footings, staircases and other parts of the structure. “I just want them to look beautiful.”
This is stream-of-conscious architecture which can’t be described in typical terms, but makes perfect sense. It is a physical manifestation of the way the artist’s mind works. How many people do you know that have an airplane engine sticking out of their bathroom?
Shortly after completing the Kauai house, Teitge moved to Idaho to begin work on another, his sixth, salvage house. This time his muse was a burned log cabin in the town of Hailey. Adjacent to the house he is realizing a long term ambition called the Model of the Universe Gazebo.
“This is an astronomical device that I have been working on for a couple of years, that is finally reaching the home stretch. The central table, representing the plane of our solar system is nearly completed. Jason Georgedeis has done all the machining, including the gearing which keeps the earth sphere oriented such that the axis of the planet always points towards Polaris as it is moved to its different positions on the table. The elevation sketch gives an idea of the overall completed look. The dome on the utility trailer will be precision drilled with up to 500 different sized holes which will represent the northern star field. The center spire also points to Polaris.”
In other words there are a bunch of holes drilled in the canopy that form a representation of star fields as seen from earth. In the center of the structure is a steel table with moving rings that support the planets of our solar system as they move around the sun, which sits in the center of the 800 lb. table.
The table has a separate circular track for each planet’s orbit, and is engraved with dates and degrees such that all the planets can be positioned just as they are in the solar plane on any given day. When sitting next to the model earth when it is properly positioned on the table, a visitor to the Gazebo, can look upward to the roof and see the sunlight shining through the holes that represent the exact stars that will be visible that night in the sky.
The spire also serves as the gnomon of a sundial casting its shadow in the surrounding plaza of the Gazebo, which will feature a bronze analemma set in stonework, and readable throughout the year.
See more of Tom Teitge's work on his website www.tomteitge.com