Lines of Flight, Human

Lines of Flight, Human 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 pattern extends along 150’-0” of the building’s second floor and 400’-0” of a public skyway bridge that connects to the county office building across the street. The bird-safe facade pattern provides a dynamic and engaging experience for both people within the public circulation space of the second floor and pedestrians on the street level.

The project, a companion piece with Lines of Flight, Avian on the building’s tenth floor, is inspired by the history of human migration to the region now known as Minnesota. The artwork spatializes U.S. Census demographic data as bands that weave through each other to create an interconnected network across the building’s facade. Each band corresponds to the historical migration of a different immigrant population and grows denser during periods of increased migration. The bands move through a field of dashes which encode the region’s Indigenous place names. Viewed in its entirety, the design is an artistically rendered timeline of movement to and through the state. Rather than a singular narrative about migration, Lines of Flight, Human depicts this history as a multitude of complex paths weaving together through space and time. 

The artwork offers multiple readings at varying angles, speeds and scales: a bold super-graphic from the street, and an intimate, woven pattern when viewed from the building’s interior. Its data-driven design also meets bird-safe standards for glass curtain walls to protect local and migratory bird populations.

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.

Project Credits:
Design Team: Adam Marcus, Molly Reichert, John Kim, Daniel Dean, Alicia Johnson, Hannah Biros, Pete Pham
Special thanks to: Andrea Carlson, Megan Robertson Dayton, Donna Maeda, Angela Two Stars
Building Design: Henning Larsen Architects, MSR Design
Client: City of Minneapolis