Hoberman Arch Sculpture at Salt Lake City Airport

Salt Lake City Airport, Utah | Steel | 36’ Height x 72' Wide | 2023


Project Description: Restoring and Enhancing the Hoberman Arch Sculpture at Salt Lake City Airport

Gordon Huether was commissioned to revitalize and install The Hoberman Arch Sculpture, an iconic semicircular structure that now graces the exit of Salt Lake City Airport. Huether’s comprehensive project involved:

The arch, standing 36 feet tall and spanning 72 feet wide, mimicked the movement of an iris opening and closing. Originally conceived by inventor and artist Chuck Hoberman as a dynamic curtain for the Olympic Medal Plaza’s stage, the arch embodies a semi-circular aluminum design reminiscent of Utah’s natural stone arches like Delicate Arch. Notably, it once held the title of the world’s largest unfolding structure.

Comprising 4,000 individual pieces assembled into 96 interconnected panels, the arch boasts an intriguing translucency that captures and echoes light, aligning with the 2002 Olympic theme, “Light the Fire Within.” The arch’s motorized mechanism, controlled by eight cables and powered by 30-horsepower motors, orchestrated its 20-second transformation into a framing ring when fully opened.

Originally revealed on January 25, 2001, at the Medals Plaza during the 2002 Winter Olympics, the arch was an emblem of the event. Hosting nightly displays of the Olympic logo, a blazing cauldron, and the day’s medalists, the arch added a captivating dimension to the Games’ atmosphere.

Following its Olympic prominence, the arch found a temporary home near Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah until August 2014. Subsequently, the sculpture underwent a series of relocations, facing theft and eventual storage at an undisclosed location.

Now, with Gordon Huether’s artistic vision and the expertise of a vast team of engineers and craftsmen, the Hoberman Arch Sculpture is poised to regain its position as a symbol of innovation and inspiration and will welcome travelers from all over the world to the Salt Lake City Airport.