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Stream of Consciousness/Body of Water - City Services


City of San Diego, Capital Improvement Projects


Miramar Water Treatment Facility

10710 Scripps Lake Drive, San Diego, CA 92131

Artwork Budget: $750,000


Project Team


Robin Brailsford


Manuel Oncina
Oncina Architects



Michael Marks
Capital Improvement Projects: Water Department



Rich Hopson - Miramar Water Operations Supervisor
City of San Diego Water Utilities Department



CDM Engineering



Allen Ross
ARTCo Allen Ross Tile Company



Western Summit



Marian Marum
Marum Partnership



Patrick Caughey
Wimmer, Yamada & Caughey


"Stream of Consciousness/Body of Water" embraces the reservoir and enhances the public interpretation of this facility's post 9/11 high-security campus. See specs here:



Stream of Consciousness is the brain, the high tech Miramar Water Treatment Facility that processes water from 175 million gallons of Colorado River daily, to potable water for San Diego’s citizens and industry. One artwork is The Last Canyon of the Colorado. I first imagined it in clay, collaborated in CAD with engineers, then realized in concrete. Seven shelves create an oasis canyon, containing spring flood and average flow. The walls and shelves are clad in my tessellated mosaic, quartzite, boulders, and cobble. The Canyon is both essential hydro-engineering and poetic interpretation. Staff and students approach the Administration Building over a canyon wide bridge. The interior art is a clean modern mosaic and dance of scientifically correct molecule men in polished aqua terrazzo. Body of Water is the plant’s reservoir – Miramar Lake, around, and on which weather and residents recreate. Reflective signage welcomes, walls and gates secure, a mosaic waterfall depicts, and the planned Solar Garden celebrates the lake’s “body of water,” and the planet’s, skies and ours too. In scale, color, and material the public art is that of the Colorado River.



On a big challenge like this, I find that I function as the conscience of the community, adding intellectual rigor, access, beauty, and environmentalism to a project that would not otherwise have it. MWTP has won the AMERICAN WATERWORKS ASSOCIATION, PARTNERSHIP FOR SAFE WATER PROGRAM, – 2012 Director’s Award; and 2013 President’s Award – one of only 5 plants so designated in the USA. CAPITOL IMPROVEMENTS PROJECTS, Water Utilities Department, City of San Diego, CA. Since 1996 I have been the Public Artist on the $200,000,000, Miramar Water Treatment Plant. Working closely with 37 engineers on the CDM design team, as well as many architects and landscape architects. Brailsford Public Art is the only consultant on all 12 designs and all 12 construction contracts,

Additional Info

Clean water is the number one goal. All other ideas play the second chair. Cost and efficiency are also essential. Retrofitting a large and potentially dangerous facility as seamlessly as possible into a bedroom community was always on the team's mind. Everyone on the team is a top professional in the technical and engineering professions. Budget is hard to figure, as the public art is woven into the fabric of the plant. Terrazzo floors were a GC line item, as was the huge and fabulous canyon.

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