McLaren Engineering Group provided structural and rigging engineering services to help engineer “ARIZONA!”, an 8-foot-wide crochet sculpture that appears to be floating in midair. This public artwork display weaves in and around structures along the Arizona Canal in Scottsdale, Arizona. To help bring the artwork concept to fruition, McLaren worked with Scottsdale Public Art, Matthew Hannon (lead rigger), and Choi+Shine Architects (design architect) to support the sculpture from towers constructed alongside the canal.
“The movement of the wind and water through time has carved out a giant land art, the state of Arizona. No other place has such breathtaking and overwhelming natural beauty that continues to evolve. The project aims to capture this dynamic fluidity and continuity at a monumental scale, expressing the forces of creation as an underlying power of this place, a majestic artwork in itself, Arizona.” – Choi+Shine Architects
On this project McLaren worked on the structural design, analysis, and guidance for the supporting poles and foundations, the cable system and the artwork itself. As structural engineer for the suspension system, our design team managed multiple competing interests and challenges ranging from an extremely tight timeline to non-traditional support materials. These included consideration of complex behaviors of the cable support system, as well as several design iterations that were coordinated with the architects and rigger to achieve the right look and feel. McLaren was on hand to make several last-minute adjustments in pole placement and limitations of pole strength.
The wind load was a significant challenge, since the design wind forces exceeded the artwork self-weight. The entertainment engineering project team worked collaboratively to arrive at a configuration that was feasible and safe. The support systems for the sculptures were designed to suggest a weightless, gravity-defying feeling for the sculpture while providing sufficient strength and bracing to resist high winds that can occur in the southwest United States.