Escaped Infrastructure

About The Project



Completion Date

15 June 2012


Canal View Park (intersection of Main and Connaroe Streets)

Photo by Thoughtbarn

ESCAPED INFRASTRUCTURE, a collaboration between the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the Manayunk Special Services District, and design firm Thoughtbarn, is a site-specific temporary installation that brings a new dimension to the Manayunk Towpath and Canal, a remnant of Philadelphia’s 19th century industrial past.  

As visitors walk along the towpath, a series of water pumps in the canal are activated by motion sensors. The canal water, usually hidden from view on Main Street, is drawn through the 50’ long bundle of clear tubes. As it pours out of the other end, it also lends the canal a new audible quality – the water can be heard for the first time.   

ESCAPED INFRASTRUCTURE is inspired by the networks of pipes, tubes, and wires that exist along the Manayunk Canal and an idea of this infrastructure ‘breaking loose’ to create unexpected experiences along the towpath. Long term plans are currently underway to restore the canal to its original navigable condition, to improve environmental and recreational opportunities.

Artists: Thoughtbarn
Structural Engineer: Mark J. Kucirka

Thoughtbarn is a multi-disciplinary design studio based in Austin, Texas. For further information, visit