Gate of Air - CODAworx

Gate of Air

Submitted by Lydia Rubio

Client: Raleigh-Durham International Airport Authority

Location: Raleigh, NC, United States

Completion date: 2010

Project Team


Mike Mancarella


Engineering and fabrication drawings

Albert Perez

CBS Consulting, Boston MA


Lydia Rubio

LR Studio Inc


RDU Airport Passenger Terminal 2. Two metal sculptural Gates and terrazzo floor designs. A budget of $385,000 for both Gate of Air and Gate of Earth. Completed from 2005 to 2010. GATE OF AIR: Fabrication: Mike Mancarella, Denver Co Engineering: CBS Consulting, Boston, MA. Design of terrazzo and exterior lithocrete floor: Lydia Rubio ( fabrication costs NIC) Materials: The Spiral Shell: welded stainless steel sheets and structural sections. Overall dimensions of structure 65 feet high x 30 feet across the top Exterior lithocrete floor: 14 feet x 60 feet Interior terrazzo floor: 15 feet x 60 feet


The approach was total integration: a handshake between art and architecture. The work could not exist without the architecture. The building’s orientation and symbols related to South: Air, and Water generated the concept. The Gate of Air was conceived as a monumental spiral-shell structurally attached to the building. A landmark. The sculpture created a sense of dynamic upward movement in the very narrow escalator lobby. A blue green terrazzo floor (interior 16 x 60 feet) in the form of a Nautilus shell, has inserts of words Now the Voyage Out and equations for the derivation of shells. The design continues in the exterior (lithocrete floor 15 x 25 feet) beyond the exterior glass, with inserts of the words Air and Water. The complete floor design can be seen from the departures level balcony.


Based on architectural models of the lobby and cardboard maquettes of the spiral-shell exterior ribbon and inner structure of the provided by the artist, CBS consulting developed digital 3D views and structural plans. The spiral-shell was fabricated and totally assembled in Denver for approval by artist and client. Due to the terminal narrow entry doors, the sculpture was was transported in sections to Raleigh, reassembled and connected to the terminal structure, welding and finishing inside the completed RDUA terminal lobby. The terrazzo floor design was coordinated with the Terminal building GC. The artist designed and located special inserts on site.

Additional Information

Gate of Air budget : 50 % of total RDUA contract amount 410,000 ( 205,000 ) fabrication cost of flooring was not included. Completed according to schedule and in budget. The Gate of Air was built by Junoworks, in Denver CO. It was transported to Raleigh in sections that could fit a 6.8 inches height standard double door. It was reassembled and welded inside the finished escalator well.