Structurflex LLC Kansas City, MO

Project Details

Fabric 1

Producer: Serge Ferrari North America Inc.

Design Name
Joe O'Connell

Design Company
Creative Machines

Project Manager Name
Simon DeAguero

Project Manager Company
Structurflex LLC

Installation Company

Please describe the project specifications

Wings Over Water is a 30-foot tall kinetic sculpture at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. The sculpture is integrated with the 24-foot by 62-foot outdoor fountain in front of the Convention Center, featuring an armature and hydraulic drive shaft that cause 2 giant wings to beat like “feathers”. There are 32 aluminum frames enveloped with coated PES tensile mesh. The wings move smoothly and continuously and, because of their translucence, cast ever-changing shadows on the surrounding area as they move. We engineered and fabricated the wings to the specification of the commissioned artist.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?

According to artist Joe O'Connell, who was commissioned by the Houston Arts Alliance, the sculpture was inspired by the theme of migration which is one of the governing metaphors behind the architectural re-design of the convention center. The massive scale and dynamic movement has turned the sculpture and fountain into an iconic destination of Downtown Houston.

What is unique or complex about the project?

The unique challenge for us was to maintain a precise relationship between the complex mechanical parts and our proposed tensile mesh 'feathers'. In addition to this requirement, we had to determine the most ideal location for all fabric clamping components such that they appeared as discretely as possible. The detailing resulted in several custom components that culminated in a central location at the hub of the spine.

What were the results of the project?

The project achieves a powerful statement for the city of Houston, which embodies the migration of diverse cultures and alludes to a richly innovative heritage of aerospace engineering. The wings create an energetic focal point that invite viewers to watch the mesmerizing movement of the undulating components - it has truly become a site for inspiration.

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