Sculptor Christopher Fennell prefers to use materials that have been cast out by society, so the idea of creating a bus stop shelter out of actual retired buses seemed like a natural.
Fennell responded to a call for bus stop designs by the city of Athens, Ga., with a vision of a shelter that would look like a moving bus in stop-motion photography, and would utilize large pieces from three old school buses.
Scavenging for old school buses to use wasn’t without adventure. “I ended up in someone’s front yard cutting off bus sections and briefly catching his lawn on fire,” recalls Fennell.
The most challenging part of the project was retaining the distinguishing markings, such as bus numbers and serial numbers, because it was important to Fennell that he maintain as much of the buses’ original history and charm as possible.
Like all his sculptures, Fennell’s bus stop is made almost entirely of recycled materials. Part of the project build is documented in a video on YouTube that shows the scaffolding, crane, and heavy lifting required to assemble the large bus sections.
Residing now in Birmingham, Ala., Fennell received a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of South Florida and worked in robotics and aerospace before deciding to go back to school to study sculpture.
“Making engaging public art was more challenging for me than designing flight simulators at my engineering job,” Fennell says about the unorthodox career change.
Fennell’s engineering background comes in handy for figuring out the structural challenges of his massive sculptures, however. Bus Stop Shelter is actually a small piece for Fennell, whose work verges on the colossal. For his next project he’s looking for 44 truck chassis to make into a 63-foot-long guitar for the location where Elvis performed his first concert. We can’t wait to see the video of that one.
More Shelter Photos: cfennell.org/pages/bs.html
Shelter Assembly: makezine.com/go/bus