In 2012 the Salt Lake City Department of Airports began plans for the Airport Redevelopment Program to create a state-of-the-art airport experience at the Salt Lake City International Airport and secure its position as a global aviation hub for decades to come. Part of stakeholders’ approach to the project was to incorporate architecturally integrated artwork early on in the design to create a beautiful and enriching environment for their 20 million passengers each year.
In 2014, the Salt Lake City Department of Airports, led by then-CEO, Maureen Riley, engaged Gordon Huether in the project. Familiar with some of Gordon’s earlier work, Maureen appreciated his ability to create works of art that were highly tailored to the site where they were installed.
“We want to make sure that the Salt Lake City International Airport is a memorable experience.” Maureen states. “Gordon Huether has been engaged to incorporate structural art into the design. He has been working very closely with HOK, our architect, to really design art features that can be incorporated early on.”
Inspired by the Salt Lake City community and surrounding landscape, Gordon created several large-scale installations that draw the natural beauty of Utah into the new airport experience. His largest airport installation, The Canyon, reflects Utah’s slot canyon landscape and will be installed on both walls (East and West) of the new main terminal. The installation spans 362 feet, roughly the length of a football field, using more than 2 acres of composite fabric, and the equivalent of seven miles of aluminum tubing. The entire work will consist of over 500 individual tensile membrane fins.
Other significant installations for the Airport Redevelopment Program include a 65-foot-tall escalator well sculpture, titled The Falls in the main terminal; Column Plates and Benches that echo the theme of The Canyon walls, also in the main terminal; Northern Light and Canyon 2.0 in the new North Concourse; and River Tunnel featured in the underground pathway that connects the main terminal to the North Concourse.
From the onset, this project has been a close collaboration with the Salt Lake City Department of Airports and the airport’s architectural firm, HOK. In addition to creating structurally integrated installations, Gordon has been named Consulting Artist for the airport and has helped curate the airport’s art collection, working with HOK to map out where each of the 135 chosen art pieces will be displayed in the new terminal. He is also assisting in the selection of the art concepts for the Whimsy Walls, which will adorn 24 restroom walls in the consolidated terminals, and the new SLC Art Wall, located in the TSA screening area. Finally, Gordon is leading the refurbishment and reinstallation of existing iconic airport installations such as You Are Here, World Map, and Flying Machines.
Once completed, the Airport Redevelopment Program will completely rebuild the outdated passenger terminal complex and related facilities at the Salt Lake City International Airport. The effort will replace three aging terminals built 30 – 50 years ago with one large, modern building which will have ample capacity for both the region’s local needs and the airport’s role as a major hub.
The $4.2 billion project is being built in phases and is planned to be complete in 2024. The first phase that includes the consolidated terminal will open in 2020. The effort will create some 2,000 jobs and generate $5.5 billion in wages over the construction period. Construction is being funded by several sources including federal grants, user fees, general airport revenue bonds, and airport reserves. No local tax dollars will be used.
We are honored to be a part of this exciting and monumental project, and to work alongside the Salt Lake City Department of Airports and HOK to bring the vision for the new Salt Lake City International Airport to life!