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  #1  
Old 07-30-2007, 09:36 PM
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allenring allenring is offline
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Air Force Memorial, Art and Engineering

Here are some pics of the new US Air Force Memorial in Arlington Virginia, next to the Pentagon and not far from Arlington Cemetery.

The Memorial itself is 270 feet high and appears to be soaring; its array of stainless steel arcs against the sky evokes the image of "contrails of the Air Force Thunderbirds as they peel back in a precision 'bomb burst' maneuver." Only three of the four contrails are depicted, as the absent fourth evokes the missing man formation traditionally used at Air Force funeral fly-overs

I love art that is site or client specific, this could not have done better. No one has to ask "But what does it mean", "Why did they do that", "Is that art?" It is also quite impressive since it is so tall and reaching. One could argue that the artist did not spend much time designing it. However the folks that built it faced quite an engineering challenge in not having a strong wind twist or blow down this piece.

The structure is formed with stainless steel plates. The bottom two thirds are filled with concrete for mass. The top third is hollow to reduce weight. Inside the piece, just above the concrete their is a square box that is lined with squishy stuff, the same material they make tennis shoes out of. Inside the box is a one ton led ball. When the wind moves the spire, the led ball moves in the opposite direction and bangs against the side of the box. It is Newtons equal an opposite reaction law of motion. The led ball dampens the motion, what ever it may be at whatever frequency.

A marvel of modern engineering? Hardly. Some observant folks back in the 70's or 80's noticed that ancient, 100's of years old, multi story Japanese temples still stood when modern buildings were getting knocked down during earthquakes. They found that the temples were built to be flexible, not ridged like modern buildings. So they moved with the moving earth. But even more clever was the fact that they had a massive log suspended in the center of them, the log moved opposite of the building, smacking it from the inside, creating a damper.
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2007, 10:12 PM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: Air Force Memorial, Art and Engineering

These shapes , though very simple, are pleasing, and gain a lot by their context, which when understood, makes it an extremely appropriate sculpture like you said.
A 27 story sculpture is not cake walk, so it is interesting to know how they solved the engineering.
Thanks for the post.

GlennT
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2007, 10:27 PM
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Re: Air Force Memorial, Art and Engineering

This type of work is a case where sculpture tries to play at architectures game. 270 feet? thats nothing. plenty of second-tier cities have a thousand foot building these days (Jersey City/Goldman Sachs). Sculpture likr this is given a pass. Just because its not carrying cars accross water or chasms - or because its not housing human triflings does not mean it should be excused of its responsibilities the skyline. If you need to find a way to make the structure pay civilation back then build rooms and elevators inside it - it can still look like anything you want it too. Tourists will come if its a REAL attraction.

I will always be more interested in what an artist is able to do when he can address his individual challenges (put forth by his own unique predicament) with his own two hands. The visual problems of modern man - his superfulous embelleshings - are usually solved with money, wit and whimsy, and these exist apart from creativity (which occurs at the highest levels anyway, regardless of circumsatnce).

Believe me, I would be delighted to get an eyeful of these arcing spikes...might even take a picture. But give me the Empire State Building or the Pulaski Skyway any day. They can move me to tears.
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:54 PM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: Air Force Memorial, Art and Engineering

I find it an impressive piece of work. As an memorial, I think it conveys a lot of meaning to the US air force. And it requires a lot of good engineering to design and construct.

I notice it is is the last piece of work by the German-born American architect James Ingo Freed who died in 2005 before this memorial's construction was completed and dedicated.

Here are some more details of the memorial's design, taken from this Wikipedia site.

United States Air Force Memorial

The Memorial itself is 270 feet high and appears to be soaring; its array of stainless steel arcs against the sky evokes the image of "contrails of the Air Force Thunderbirds as they peel back in a precision 'bomb burst' maneuver." Only three of the four contrails are depicted, as the absent fourth evokes the missing man formation traditionally used at Air Force funeral fly-overs.

The spire structure consists of stainless steel plates with high-strength concrete filling the lower 2/3rds of each spire. The upper third is hollow stainless steel. At the transition between concrete and hollow steel portions, dampers are provided to dissipate wind sway energy and eliminate the risk of aerodynamic instability. Each damper consists of a lead ball weighing about a ton each, allowed to roll inside a steel box. The structural design of the memorial was completed by engineering consultancy Arup.

At the entrance from the west stands four eight-foot tall bronze statutes of the Memorialís Honor Guard, sculpted by Zenos Frudakis. This is linked by a bluestone path to the Glass Contemplation Wall, a glazed independent panel with the images of four F-16's flying in a Missing man formation engraved on both sides of the 5-ply panel, situated on the north side of the Memorial so that the north inscription wall is visible through it, and is the only part of the memorial that depicts aircraft.

The base of the Memorial is framed by two inscription walls located at each end of the central lawn. The walls are 56 feet in length, 10 feet in height and one foot thick. Both walls are made of polished, highly-reflective monolithic Jet Mist granite and both include a two and a half inch outer inscription panel made from Absolute Black granite. ....


This link shows a good picture taken during the memorial's construction. From this picture, one can visualize the size of these three curved spires.
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Last edited by Merlion : 07-30-2007 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:55 AM
ironman ironman is offline
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Re: Air Force Memorial, Art and Engineering

Hi, Any 2 yr. old could figure out the con-trail, missing man connection and I guess from a "memorial" point of view it performs it's function well.
BUT, As a sculpture, I think it's inane and boring, bigger isn't necessarily better.
I'm with Evaldart, give me the Empire State Bldg. or the Chrysler Bldg. any day.
Have a great day,
Jeff
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Old 07-31-2007, 04:51 PM
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allenring allenring is offline
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Re: Air Force Memorial, Art and Engineering

As usual Ill take exception to ironman and even this time even our senior sage evaldart. I can't think of a higher calling for an artist than to create a work that invokes a great deal of emotion and expresses a part of an individuals life story.

I think we could argue the point about where lines fall between art and architecture. We all hardily agree that the Empire State building is esthetically, artistically, architecturally and emotionally a great piece of work. But it is just a building.

The Lincoln Memorial is also a building. However it is so much more. It bridges traumatic history, Americas core self image, a great individual and was the site of one of MLK's I have a dream speech, wow.

Consider the new US Marine Corp. Museum. Here is art expressed as architecture. The art is made large, 210 feet and incorporates the core concepts that define a Marine to the outside world.

The museum will be defined by a 210-foot element that soars at a 45-degree angle from the 160-foot-high glass atrium. This central component is symbolic of raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, Howitzer cannons, and the US Marine Corpsí raised swords.

This structure is designed to make a statement, you should see it at night, they have some serious megawatt lighting pointing straight up at the tip of the 210 foot element, a dramatic example of light sculpture.

This structure will evoke emotion, speaks to the soul of those that it honors, and is quite functional. I think that is a great calling for an artist. Someone that is not just thrusting their inner vision on the public but someone that can get at what moves and defines a slice of humanity and express that in three dimensions.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...%3Den%26sa%3DNhttp://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...%3Den%26sa%3DN
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Old 07-31-2007, 07:43 PM
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Re: Air Force Memorial, Art and Engineering

Architects like to talk about "blurring" the lines between sculpture and architecture, but to sculptors its quite clear...not blurry at all...they are talking about architecture, not sculpture.

Allen, I do like that thing up there, even better than the previous arcing triplets. But since it was put forth by teams and commitees and organizations and benefactors and donators and officials of all fashion and all those cursed "designers", it doesn't address ME as an individual. Hell I probably can't even see any evidence of the laborers who actually had their paws on it. But perhaps Time will make it handsome, wear it away, let us know that IT too is riddled by demise; Then it might speak to me, both of us old and life-beaten - me in the grave and it a twisty ending to a Planet of the Apes movie.
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:55 PM
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Re: Air Force Memorial, Art and Engineering

I find all the pictures posted so far fail as images of the overall memorial. Here http://www.af.mil/photos/index.asp?g...ID=2259&page=2 is a collection of images from an Air-Force related site, with several aerial views. Those are much better for the purpose.

This site also includes sculptures of individual AF personnel in uniform, and I don't think as highly of those pieces as the overall triple spire.

Overall, I disagree with evaldart on the relative merit of buildings for business and of memorials. Memorials serve a necessary purpose, and nothing else serves as well.
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:02 AM
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allenring allenring is offline
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Re: Air Force Memorial, Art and Engineering

fritchie thanks for the better pics, the areal view helps.

evaldart seems to be stating that the mark of an artist is an individual pounding material into shape driven by vision, angst, or sometimes in my case as a form of therapy. A viewer should be able to see the hand work, the mark of the craftsman in the work.

I fully agree up to the point that it limits art and does recognize an aspect of our modern world.

I think that an artist that can convey a recognizable idea or emotion through his or her work is a highly skilled artist, even if they do not produce the work itself. Ill use the Vietnam War Memorial as another example, (sorry about the poor pic, got to get to the studio today, that plasma cutter is supposed to come in.)

I'll go further, I think that the groups or comities of individuals that produced the Apple Ipod, a real work of art, are true and highly skilled artists in every sense even though they created a mass produced product, remain anonymous, and are drawing a salary.
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