Client: City of Austin
Location: Austin, TX, United States
Completion date: 2021
Austin Art in Public Places
MEANDER WINGS, an experiential gateway at Austin Airport.
Along the main concourse between parking and the airport terminals, the structure gives a dynamic presence to the circulation in and out of the airport, directing pedestrian traffic while also offering a space for friends and families to send off loved ones or welcome visitors to Austin.
The structure itself appears to be taking off on its own journey. Upright on eight legs, the hyperbolic structure thrusts up 30 feet into the sky. Cantilevering wings in ultra-thin aluminum project into the airspace beyond the main path. The density of the network and its field of supporting legs produces a diffuse space that spans this corridor. Only from the floors of the garage overhead does one get a true sense of the scale of MEANDER WINGS: 90 feet in length, with a wingspan of 45 feet.
On the ground, the space is activated by a projected network of shadow and light, a replication of the tracery above. The material and construction recalls the fuselage of modern airplanes, conventionally made in lightweight aluminum alloys. As a skeletal network of many branches, the overall structure performs as a composite evoking the emerging mode of airplane construction.
MEANDER WINGS is the first embrace and the last impression of a welcoming city.
This unusual sculptural construction occupies the constructed canyon between two parking structures and frames the path to the airport’s main entrance. As a gateway, it establishes a signature procession for coming and going. Landing in Austin is a stylish sequence from gate to your car to South Congress. Even en route to a departing flight, MEANDER WINGS might give you pause: a breath of fresh air before squeezing into the window seat.
While MEANDER WINGS expresses its relationship to the aircraft, its striking form also looks to natural formations in the Texan landscape: from limestone grottos of holey rock to gnarled live oaks to the tangle of roots of the bald cypress. We typically view the tree as what we can see above ground, but the visible roots of the cypress remind us that it is a circulatory system. On such a site, so dependent on swiftness, this new, formidable canopy inspires the very slowness and contemplation at home in the Central Texas ecology.