Salt Lake City International Airport – The Canyon

By March 15, 2017 August 30th, 2017 Project Development

As part of the Terminal Redevelopment Program at the Salt Lake City International Airport, internationally recognized artist, Gordon Huether, was engaged early on by the Salt Lake City Department of Airports to create a series of structural artwork designs to be integrated into their new state-of-the-art terminal.

As the title of the artwork ‘Canyon’ implies, the rock formations and canyons of the Utah area inspire the design for the largest of Huether’s art installations. This monumental structure begins at the arrivals lobby, spans across the entire ‘spine’ of the main terminal concourse and ends at the airport’s grand plaza. It is completely uninterrupted, so one can make a visual connection from one end to another.

The artwork is just over a football field in length and is made up of over 400 individual wave-like structures, referred to as ‘fins’. The fin frames are ingeniously made up of over seven (7) miles of aluminum tubing and are clad with 2.5 acres of composite fabric!

Huether wanted to ensure superb quality and a smooth fabrication process for this significant, one-of-a-kind art installation and joined forces with FabriTec and partners, Duvall Design and Rainier Industries.

To create the undulating forms, which represent the topographical contours of Utah’s many canyons, aluminum tubing is formed with a custom-designed 3D freeform bending machine, then assembled using custom SS fittings, before being fit with a FR-rated flexible fabric that is patterned and sewn to match the free form aluminum frames.

Huether and his studio team collaborated with SLC Department of Airports and their architects at HOK to create this enormous, large-scale fabric sculpture, wowing travelers on the terminals’ main concourse.

The manufacturing of the tensile membrane ‘fins’ for The Canyon is well underway and the artwork is scheduled to be installed in 2020, to coincide with the airport’s grand opening. The number of travelers at the new airport facility is expected to increase from 22 million to 23 million by the year 2034.

For more details of the fabric structure’s design, read the official news release from FabriTec Structures.

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