Lines of Flight, Avian is a large scale architectural facade design for the new Public Service Building at City Hall Plaza in Minneapolis. One of two projects commissioned by the City of Minneapolis for this new ten-story building, this custom-designed ceramic frit pattern wraps 200’-0” of the building’s top-floor penthouse, which houses the staff lounge. It is intended to provide solar shading on the east and west walls of the lounge, meet bird-safe specifications for high-rise glass curtain walls, and also provide dynamic qualities of light and shadow for both the lounge and the adjacent roof terrace.
The project, a companion piece with Lines of Flight, Human on the building’s second floor, is inspired by the migration patterns of the Minnesota Loon, the state bird. It uses a range of two-dimensional profiles of the bird in flight to create a dynamic field of shapes that are materialized through variable dash patterns. As the pattern, a kind of transparent wallpaper, wraps around the volume of the staff lounge, the orientation of the bird figures alternate from north to south, in reference to the loon’s seasonal migration. The variation of the dash pattern is produced by encoded translations of the loon’s distinctive call, and the overlapping of the dashes produces ambiguous conditions of figure and ground. The pattern subtly changes as it moves around the lounge space to create different degrees of transparency and visibility between the interior space and the exterior terrace.
This project was commissioned by the City of Minneapolis after a national selection process. Futures North worked closely with the building architects Henning Larsen and MSR Design to coordinate the pattern with the curtain wall design. The project is currently in fabrication; the building is scheduled to open in fall 2020.
Design Team: Adam Marcus, Molly Reichert, John Kim, Daniel Dean
Building Design: Henning Larsen Architects, MSR Design
Client: City of Minneapolis