Client: Fort Worth Public Art
Location: Fort Worth, TX, United States
Completion date: 2017
Artwork budget: $200,000
Hahnfeld Hoffer Stanford Architects
Public Art Agency
Fort Worth Public Art
City of Fort Worth Aviation Department
R. L. Woods and Assocates
Displays Fine Arts
Ralph Lauer Photography
Collective Transitions plays off of our perceptions of the whimsy and magic of flight. Lightheartedly referencing the function of “paperwork” in both work and play, it demonstrates the interplay between man-made forms and natural movement. Hundreds of aerodynamic objects transitioning from traditional aircraft to classic hand-folded paper planes, gracefully flocking like birds inside the confines of a business environment, acknowledges our memory of place while implying the social narratives that can occur within it. The installation includes 800 individually folded metal planes suspended within the 40’ x 40 x 40’ three-story entrance lobby animated by an LED lighting array.
Meacham Airport was originally the main commercial air terminal for the City of Fort Worth. In 1953, all commercial traffic moved to Amon Carter Field and since that time it has been used primarily for corporate aircraft, commuter flights and student pilot training. The redesign of the building in 2017 was intended to accommodate these existing uses and to expand the support and management operations on the site with additional office and meeting spaces as well as a spacious three-story atrium.
The goals of the design team were to include artwork that would be symbolic of the airport and its operations, be engaging to visitors and that would serve as a visible icon from the adjacent highway. Additionally, the artwork would need to address the volume of the three-story space in a manner that would form a single coherent narrative with the building design and that would provide distinct daytime and nighttime experiences. Extensive conversations between the artist and architect focused on the visual comparisons between aviary structures and the design of the glass enclosed main lobby and how this relationship could be exploited to capture the essence of the building’s current functions.
Working together with the design team, the artwork was conceived as a suspended array of hundreds of lightweight metal plane forms. Aggregate weight of the individual parts was carefully monitored in order to stay within the tolerances of the existing celling structure as set by the facility engineer. Each plane was designed to be hung by a trio of miniature steel cables to allow precise XYZ positioning. The installation of the artwork could not require any disassembling of the ceiling or cause any intrusion to the function or maintenance of the systems located above. To achieve this, the final layout had to be carefully coordinated with all members of the design team and a custom wire hanging clip needed to be engineered that would lock in place through the acoustical perforations in the ceiling tiles. To allow precise positioning of the final attachments, each plane was digitally laid out over the ceiling grid in order to produce maps of the exact locations for use by the installers. The artwork also includes a system of programmable LED lights that required integration by the electrical engineer and the general contractor to assure that it seamlessly functioned with the overall building system.
The final installation includes 800 planes each suspended by three .012” - 1x7 stainless steel cables. A total of 2400 individual cables were used, ranging in length from approximately 10 feet to 30 feet and together totaling over 35,000 linear feet. Each plane is cut out from .012” metal plate and individually folded to produce unique variations. Final installation of the project took approximately four weeks to complete.