In early spring 2008, internationally acclaimed artist James Sanborn installed his sculpture Radiance on the terrace of the LSU Energy, Coast and Environment Building's rotunda. The artwork was commissioned by a committee of building representatives, LSU community members, state planning and facilities representatives, and the architectural firms Post Architecture and Coleman and Associates. Post Architecture was responsible for the design work on the Energy, Coast & Environment Building, while Coleman and Associates supervised the building construction.
Radiance reflects the missions of the departments housed within the Energy, Coast & Environment Building. Bronze circular elements reaching eight feet in height and finished with an aged patina have been placed near the four entry ways. Water-jet cut passages of text in many languages perforate the pieces, referencing exploration, the environment, earth science, plate tectonics, oil and early inhabitants. The perforated text images are lit from an internal lighting source and project onto the facade of the Energy, Coast & Environment Building and walkways at night.
Sanborn is noted for his work with American stone and related materials. He has been commissioned to do artwork for sites at MIT, the CIA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He is best known for the "Kryptos" sculpture installed at the CIA headquarters, which displays encrypted messages that continue to stump code-breakers. Radiance was acquired through the state public art bill specifying that one percent of a new state building's construction budget can be designated for public art. The Energy, Coast & Environment Building, completed in 2003, was the first new building to fall under this public art bill.