Joe O'Connell and Blessing Hancock
Completed in June 2014
A flexible space frame structure creates the fluid curves and ethereal mood of the Chinook Arc, an interactive, illuminated work of art that sits in Barb Scott Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Rising 15 feet high with a 28-foot diameter, the Chinook Arc is one of the world’s largest acrylic sculptures. Following a flowing pattern, the piece’s outer skin floats above a steel skeleton, manufactured by DSI Spaceframes. In sunlight, the translucent cladding exposes the details of the underlying space frame structure, creating a sleek and modern look. The Chinook Arc’s organic shape reflects the Beltline streetcar loop that once encircled the neighborhood where it is located. It also draws inspiration from the Chinook arch weather phenomenon, a band of stunning colored clouds that change hues in the sky. In the Chinook Arc, people can cause similar color variations by waving objects in front of an optical sensor. A system of 48 LED lights then translates the movements and projects light sequences across the sculpture. Only through the use of a space frame structure could this engaging, illuminating sculpture come to life.