Denver International Airport Emerging Artist Program Winners Announced

Denver, Colorado; May 2008 - Denver International Airport (DIA) and the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) announced the winners of their Emerging Artist Program in its inaugural year. The commission called for a temporary installation in the highway median en route to Denver’s International Airport. The Live Architecture Network’s (LaN) proposal responded to the competition call through the engagement of natural on-site forces with a design that dynamically responds to wind fluctuations. The LaN proposal evokes a global scope with intentions of a second year installation journey to Boulder's sister city-- Lhasa, Tibet.
The [WIND]OW SEAT proposal forms through initial attempts to visualize this complex fluid system that is the air we all inhabit—a ubiquitous condition dynamically affecting all geographies. This premise permits any locale whether a dense city corridor or a barren highway median, to be rendered as highly active zones of wind activity. THE PROPOSAL establishes three base parameters-- DENVER (entailing the local natural wonders)  INTERNATIONAL (the reaching of Denver well beyond state lines—the wander factor) & AIRPORT (the local agent of a global system). The relationship to the airport takes its departure from the windsock, a simple instrument used in aviation to signal the changes in wind direction and speed. [WIND]OW SEAT attempts to take the behavior of a single windsock and translate it into a condition where small fluctuations can be read throughout the entire form to articulate the complexities of wind forces. THE SITE a highway median on Peña Blvd. is primarily perceived from the vantage point of a vehicle traveling high speeds to/from the airport. This experiential context drove the design to maximize the potential for bi-directional viewing of the installation (650’ x 150’ parcel of the median). LaN’s LOCAL- GLOBAL INITIATIVES LaN’s interest in initiating a second phase proposal stems from an inherent desire to further define local-global relationships. LaN seeks to connect lands separated by vast distances (with the realization they often hold more in common than immediate neighboring lands). In consideration of extending the project lifecycle, LaN is exploring possibilities through Sister City programs of Denver/Boulder. On the basis of main project themes (wind) and through geographic similarities LaN holds special interest in Lhasa, Tibet. The proposed design entwines 12,000 feet of fabric over the site—in essence creating DIA’s fifth 12,000 ft runway. Ironically, the proposal assimilates not only the 12,000 ft strip Denver needs to access the globe, but with idea of a second phase in Lhasa—the climbing to Lhasa’s precisely 12,000 foot elevation. The project is scheduled to take-off in Denver 2008/9 (update 8/2008: The commission has been canceled)

proposal comments//

I was very impressed with the intellectual rigor and creativity shown by the Live Architecture Network in the Group’s proposal [...] I’m intrigued with the possible ripple effect of the installation elsewhere in the world. Bravo!  –Len Edgerly, Competition Juror
The LaN proposal rides on wind themes. Wind is a strong element of Tibetan environment and culture; the wind horse (Lungta) is at the center of the Tibetan prayer flags, which carry compassion to all beings through actions of prevailing winds.  –Dr. Bill Warnock President, Boulder-Lhasa Sister City Project
To capture the wind and use it as an organic shaper of monumental sized banners structured only by their placement on the landscape is brilliant. –Gillian Hallock Johnson Principal, Burkett Design
[...] is experimental and uniquely appropriate for a median where the viewer zooms by at 65mph [...] an exciting approach to working with a minimal budget on a large site and making a strong visual impact on the visitor.  –Richard H. Epstein, AIA


  • LaN competition team  James Coleman / Luis E. Fraguada / Shane Salisbury / Monika Wittig
  • LaN local project director  Monika Wittig
  • commissioned by  Denver International Airport (DIA) & Denver Office of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) , 2008 EMERGING ARTIST PROGRAM
sponsors// advisors//
  • project management William Moore, AIA President, Sprocket Design-Build
  • design development Richard H. Epstein, AIA
  • global initiatives Dr. Bill Warnock President, Boulder-Lhasa Sister City Project
  • scripting Shajay Bhooshan, Researcher, co|de, Zaha, London