PITTSBURGH (August 20, 2014) – In a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a local artist, airport and construction officials, the Allegheny County Airport Authority announces that work is underway to install a new terrazzo floor in the Airside Terminal Center Core at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT).
“Pittsburgh International Airport is one of our region’s most visible welcome centers to the world, so it is only fitting that a public art project that celebrates the unique heritage of Pittsburgh welcomes visitors and residents alike,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Public art projects can promote our cultural heritage, support artistic development, makes us unique, and contributes to our economic development and tourism. This project enhances Allegheny County’s character and identity, and we are grateful for this collaboration and its installation here at the airport.”
“When completed, travelers will encounter a modern floor surface with a rich design that captures the unique heritage of Pittsburgh, highlights our shared experiences and complements AIRMALL’s award-winning concessions program, completing a total transformation of the center core,” said David Minnotte, ACAA Board Chairman.
Including art in the passenger experience at PIT has always been an important goal dating to construction of Greater PIT Airport in 1952 and continuing today. From the original Alexander Calder mobile that floats above the Airside Center Core, to the recent addition of ARCH on Ticketing level, Landside, PIT is committed to promoting the region’s arts and heritage.
“This flooring project represents a wonderful addition to PIT’s collection and provides a warm welcome and memorable sendoff for passengers,” said Renee Piechocki, director, Pittsburgh Office of Public Art.
The terrazzo floor represents the first major construction update in the Airside Terminal in more than 20 years, and follows a $10 million AIRMALL project to transform the Center Core into a hub for high-fashion with new specialty retail shops.
Following a request for proposals in 2013, the Allegheny County Airport Authority commissioned artist Clayton Merrell, who has numerous accolades and is an art professor at Carnegie Mellon University, to design the floor.
The central element of Merrell’s design, which occupies a space that is approximately 69,000 square feet or 1.5 acres, is a vast blue sky with clouds, contrails and inlaid silhouettes of aircraft. He also designed large silhouettes representing five iconic views of Pittsburgh neighborhoods and recognizable landmarks including Heinz Field and PNC Park, Smithfield Street Bridge and Monongahela Incline, Cathedral of Learning and the historic Carrie Furnace.
“I am certain that all travelers, whether visitors to Pittsburgh or locals, will find something to connect with in the imagery,” Merrell said. “I hope that the project will be an invitation to slow down and contemplate the act of flying – to see it from a fresh angle, making it new and surprising again.”
Along with the Airport Authority, the Pittsburgh Office of Public Art, Pittsburgh architectural firm Lami Grubb, contractor Mosites Construction and terrazzo company Roman Mosaic & Tile of West Chester, Pa., are working to ensure that Merrell’s original design is accurately reflected in the construction. The floor will cost about $4 million and is funded through the Airport Authority’s capital budget. The terrazzo floor will be installed in phases over the next 14 to 18 months. Terrazzo is a material that consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other suitable chips, poured or precast with a binding agent, then polished smooth to produce a uniformly textured surface.