Circling: Dallas, TX

2005, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

In his professional and personal life, Janney has spent quite a bit of time waiting in airports. Aware that this part of the travel experience was ripe for improvement, Janney decided to shake up the paradigm when he was commissioned for a major project for a new international terminal at DallasFort Worth International Airport in Texas. His response was Circling, an interactive, three-dimensional labyrinth, the name of which reflects both the notion of planes circling overhead and the action of the passengers themselves as they circle through four concentric rings within the thirty-foot-diameter space.

Circling is based on a labyrinthine form but had to be configured for the airport space. Its walls, constructed from one hundred sheets of two-foot-wide colored glass, spiral at different heights, up to twelve feet, along terrazzo paths. Twenty-eight sensors embedded in the floor trigger lights and loudspeakers to reinforce the idea of illumination and sounds coming up from the earth as people walk through the maze.

Janney refers to it as an onion-like icon that evokesthe spiritual symbol of a circle: It is more soothing to walk in a circle than in other shapes, he says. Not that many people at the airport key into its spiritual side, but it provides a good way to escape from the hectic pace of the place.