Public Art Projects: Facilitator/Curator


Air Columns
George Deukmejian Courthouse
Long Beach, CA


Ned Kahn’s Air Columns, for the George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach, California redefines the classic architectural column long associated with courthouse design as a wind-responsive semi-transparent form. Each of the four columns (sited at the building’s main entrance) is treated in the same manner: a concrete base (10 feet high by 3 foot diameter) supports the fifty- foot tall sculptural elements. The sculptures consist of thousands of aluminum flaps (each 4” high x 2” wide) that are hinged on stainless steel rods running from the top of the sculpture (at sixty feet above grade) to the top of the concrete base (at 10 feet above grade). There are three concentric circles of flaps that radiate out from the sixteen-inch steel support pipe in the center of the column. The attachment of the flaps to the rods is such that the slightest air current will cause the flaps to rotate creating a column that is both solid and fluid. The effect of light hitting the softly reflective flaps appear as a dappled effect, almost akin to leaves rustling in wind.

Client: Long Beach Judicial Partners