South Lakes’ STEAM Team Creates Structure for Reston Town Center


Photo via SLHS STEAM

ViDustria: a word coined by the South Lake’s STEAM team and given to their newest public art structure going up in Reston Town Center this October. The word is a combination of “vi”, a derivative of love, and “dustria”, the industry of creating. When put together, it means the love of creating.

The design will feature multiple images. “We are going for a lenticular design. So you can get a lot of different pieces of art from the one piece based on where you’re looking at it from,” says Ann Erhlich, a junior on the STEAM team. 

ViDustria was inspired by many ideas. During the early stages of planning, the team was looking for the commonalities that exist between all living things. Eventually, the students landed on the concept of energy. Mr. Rando, the art teacher who supervises the project, says that “we are all energy vibrating at a specific frequency, and we share each other’s energy all the time.” Energy is present everywhere. The structure also took inspiration from the pandemic. The team wanted to emphasize that “we’re all in this together”. Overall, there is a theme of unity and cooperation.

Not only was cooperation reflected as a theme in ViDustria, it was also key to producing the structure. Architects, engineers, electricians, a grounds crew, and even the advanced tech students at South Lakes all donated their services to help create the team’s structure.

Together, students overcame many obstacles. Panels came in the wrong sizes and there were mathematical errors. Facing these challenges taught students how to problem solve and how to “adapt, create, and combine,” as Mr. Rando explains. The process of adapting, creating, and combining has taught STEAM students perseverance. 

ViDustria will be a unique project for the team since it will be their first structure going up in the Town Center. The change in location requires the team to provide greater attention to details and create a larger structure. There are not that many programs in the country that allow high school students to create public art for places like the Reston Town Center. “Once this goes up, it’s going to make history,” adds Mr. Rando. The STEAM team as well as South Lakes students can’t wait to see the final product.