Surface - CODAworx

Client: Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS)

Location: Cornelius, NC, United States

Completion date: 2017

Artwork budget: $200,000

Project Team


Ivan Toth Depeña


Redline Design Group


Surface, a new, permanent, public art installation created by Ivan Toth Depena for the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) opened in late 2017. The comfort station, located in the Cornelius Park and Ride, offers a rich visual and experiential public space, enlivening the busy commuter thoroughfare and immersing users in an abstract bath of light. As Mayor Chuck Travis states, “This is the coolest park and ride in all of CATS.”


The 3 dimensional, colored glass installation was inspired by one of Cornelius’ adjacent geographic attractions, Lake Norman. Depeña used actual underwater topographic data from Lake Norman to recreate the abstracted experience of looking up through the surface of the lake. The artist wanted to build on the emotional experience of swimming beneath the water’s surface by having the light cascade and refract color on the surfaces of the structure. This play of light and color is intended to respond dynamically to the site by changing throughout the calendar with the movement of the sun. This allows waiting patrons to experience & enjoy a colorful, impressionistic view of the of the topography of Lake Norman that changes throughout the day. Blues & greens echo the colors of the lake while shades of orange in the design connect back to the Carolina clay makes up much of the lake bottom.


This project was a unique experience which allowed the artist to work directly with the architect of Record, REDLINE design group, to influence the 3-dimensional form of the driver’s comfort station. This collaboration allowed the underlying concept to develop seamlessly from studio sketches to final fabrication and construction. The overall shape utilizes a modern design that incorporates a cantilevered awning to function as shelter for riders but also fuses with colored art glass installation. The positioning of the angled sculptural centerpiece aligns directly with the polar coordinates (North, South, East and West) and utilizes the specifically engineered, canopy size and angle to take advantage of the sun’s angles throughout the day. This harmonious blend of art, architecture & native vernacular not only gives riders shelter from their environment but also connects them back to their native environment.

Additional Information

Artist/Designer: Ivan Toth Depeña Commissioning Agency: CATS - Charlotte Area Transit Architect of Record: Redline Design Group Civil Engineer: Kimley/Horn Drone Footage: Ben Premeaux - SmartLab Music: Grouper