Panther Island / Central City News

Fort Worth Public Art Piece, “Wind Roundabout”, on Panther Island

Did you know that the art piece located at the center of the Henderson Street and White Settlement roundabout was installed in 2015 as part of Fort Worth Public Art initiative.

Wind Roundabout is a kinetic sculpture which features thousands of hinged aluminum panels whose movement is entirely powered by the wind, revealing its ever-changing movement as it does in water or prairie grass. The surface of the sculpture glimmers in the sunlight during the day, and at night, reflects the soft glow of ambient light from passing cars and, in the near future, surrounding four to six-story buildings. “Ned Kahn chose a simple geometric shape – the cylinder – as the “canvas” to reflect the complex patterns of our Fort Worth winds. Wind Roundabout is unique among Kahn’s public artworks in that it is freestanding, rather than attached to architecture,” said Martha Peters, Vice President of Public Art with the Arts Council of Fort Worth, which manages the City of Fort Worth’s public art program. Helping Kahn’s vision come to fruition is Uwe Langmesser the self-proclaimed “nuts and bolts guy”. They became friends in the 1980s when they worked together as exhibit designers at San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Kahn and Langmesser have been working on Wind Roundabout since 2007 after Kahn was selected by a panel of local stakeholders and arts professionals to produce the piece for the TxDOT Bridge Project.

Langmesser created prototypes and conducted tests for the sculpture at his home in Maine for three years before he was able to fabricate the final prototype, used to order custom-made parts from around the United States and Europe. Langmesser came to Fort Worth in May of 2015 to erect the 30’ steel supports at the center of the roundabout. He then took a break to allow TxDOT’s contractor to complete the roadway so it could be opened to traffic. Langmesser returned in mid-October to begin stringing support cables and hanging the 4”x 4” hinged aluminum “flappers”, creating the 30’ diameter cylinder. The tedious process took Langmesser and his assistants about three weeks to complete.

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