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Old 07-30-2007, 09:36 PM
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allenring allenring is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: McLean, VA
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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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