A water tower is “a city’s billboard,” says Lexington 2 Board of Trustees vice chairman Bill Bingham. So when he got the opportunity to design the City of Cayce’s new water tower, he was determined to make it a local treasure.
At just a few months old, the Cayce water tower is in the no. 1 spot to win a nationwide contest for the best water towers. There are more than 270 entries from across the United States in the competition hosted by Tnemec, a company that makes paints for water towers.
The tower sits between L and N Avenues, proclaiming to passersby “Cayce” in large letters, underlined by subtle blue waves that are symbolic of the Congaree River.
Bingham’s firm, American Engineering Consultants, has worked with the City of Cayce for more than 25 years, he said, but this is the first tower he designed personally. Bingham took the city’s rebranded logo, “Cayce” with waves at the base of the letter C, and incorporated it into a design with a wave pattern underneath, encircling the water tank.
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“Obviously, I’m proud of it, but I knew all along this was going to be a very good-looking tank,” he said. “I’m almost 60 years old and I’ve seen a lot of water tanks.”
Some tanks aren’t readable, Bingham said, which is a big mistake. Or they’ll have too much text, or too little color. The trick, he said, is to “make sure the design is proportionate for the viewing audience,” use color and keep the message simple.
Bingham and his firm designed the tank structure as well as the art, though the Cayce logo itself was designed collaboratively by a group of local creative contributors, including Joe Long of Black Barn Designs, Tracie Broom of Flock and Rally, Tia Williams of Midlands Anchor, Will Bryan of Will Bryan Designs, Alana Jordan of Big Eyed Bird and Ashley Hunter of MPA Strategies.
The city approved the design, the tower was built, stenciled and hand-painted. It was over four hours in March, similar to how the New Year’s Eve apple drops in Times Square.
The new tower will replace one of the older tanks in the city.
If the tower wins the Tnemec contest, it will be featured in the annual Tnemec calendar alongside the 11 runners up, plus bragging rights.
Voting ends on Oct. 19 at 5 p.m. and the winner will be announced on Oct. 26.
Correction, 3:53 p.m. Oct. 10, 2018: A previous version of this story stated Bill Bingham and his firm, American Engineering Consultants, designed the Cayce logo. The logo design was created by a number of people, not including Bingham. These contributors are now listed in the story.