Third Runway Embankment Wall
In December 2000, artist Carolyn Braaksma of Surface Strategy, LLC of Denver, Colorado was selected to design the art which was integrated into the mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall facing on the north and west walls of the third runway. Carolyn Braaksma has worked extensively designing site specific, integrated art works using concrete and terrazzo mediums. She has worked collaboratively with other artists and design team members on many projects throughout Arizona, Florida and Colorado.
Much of the artistic concept is based on the variety of natural resources that have drawn people to the Puget Sound, including the climate, the flora and fauna of the land and sea, and the relationship of the land, sea and sky. A boat serves as the focal point to signify travel, adventure and exploration, and the metaphorical link between land and sea embraced by various cultures.
The curving north wall features the boat with monumental figureheads of a scale to match the size of the wall and to fit in with the scale of the outdoors. The wall is approximately 1,220 feet long and 86 feet tall. Companion images are used on the west wall, which is approximately 1,460 feet long and 133 feet tall, but is not as visible as the north wall. Landscaping that coordinates with the images softens the hard surface of the walls and further diminishes their size.
The design is cast in the face of the five-by-five concrete panels of the retaining walls. The images have a relief of about two-and-a-half inches, with a natural color range provided by the hues of exposed aggregate and integral colors.
The art work is visible from Highway 518 on the north, Des Moines Memorial Drive on the west, and from S. 154th Street at the base of the wall.