When they think of infrastructure, most people think of concrete, metal and asphalt. But as these examples prove, public works can be pretty too.

2014 Water Tank of the Year 

Midland, Texas, has been declared the winner of the the Tank of the Year contest, a national water storage tank competition presented by Tnemec Company Inc. “Tank of the Year continues to become more exciting each year,” said Doug Hansen, Director – Water Tank Market for Tnemec. “This year, the top twelve tanks were selected from a field of 235 water tank nominations and a total of 14,693 votes were cast online by the public during the competition.”

Some of the greatest public works art is underfoot in cities around the world. Check out this slideshow for more examples of magnificent manhole covers.

A Welcome Sign that Wows

South Pasadena, Fla., has a new welcome sign – produced by Creative Edge of Fairfield, Iowa – that doubles as a dual-sided piece of public art. As Public Works reported:

The mural is a mix of stone and ceramic pieces, although most of the color is provided with natural stone. [Jim Belilove, president of Creative Edge] says the work includes blue marble from Greece and granites from India, including a sandy-brown Kashmir Gold and the gold-flecked Galaxy Black.

Water Treatment Works of Art

This unique creation by Lindsay Olson was developed during a residency at the Stickney Water Treatment plant in Cicero, Ill. Olson's work was inspired by the wastewater microbiology she witnessed at the plant, According to a recent Water Environment Federation profile:

During Olson’s 18-month stay at the facility, the artist learned about biosolids, phosphorous recovery, and the science behind wastewater treatment. She transformed her learning into art pieces with names that only a microbiologist could love, such as “Crawling Ciliate Aspidisca” and “Aeration Tank 3.” Since being created, these and other wastewater inspired pieces have been exhibited at multiple events and conferences including the Water Environment Federation’s annual technical exhibition and conference, WEFTEC.

Learn more about Olson in this video and share your favorite public works art with us. Email sjohnston@hanleywood.com.