Ed Carpenter’s concept for the incorporation of sculpture in Phoenix, Arizona’s new Consolidated Rental Car Center was developed in close collaboration with the design team, in keeping with the project’s emphasis on light. The resulting treatments are composed of interconnecting tension elements and ever-changing light-activated surfaces completely integrated with the architecture. Travelers encounter glowing spaces and unusual light and shadow patterns as they pass through the building.
In the entry area, the sweeping 800′ wall above the rental counters is an ideal location for integrated elements that reflect, refract, and magnify sunlight as it enters from above. The angles and materials of the skylight were thoroughly studied to achieve the most complete interaction with the sun. The art composes itself in an enormous curving latticework interlaced with the beams under the skylight, not touching the wall except at the extreme edges: only the light touches the wall. As the sun moves through days and seasons, a succession of subtle textures and patterns of light and shadow play across the curving surface of the wall and on the floor below. These are prominently visible as one enters the facility, and reveal themselves more fully as one moves toward the rental counters. In this area the artwork is intentionally arranged in a completely regular, repetitive pattern in order to register the movements of the sun. Even when the sun is not penetrating the skylight crescent, the pattern of the artwork adds rhythm to the space and creates a sense of luminous architectural layering. Night lighting insures continuous interest.
In the elevator/escalator cores the skylights have been placed along the outer walls and carefully configured to gather light into the interior. The ceiling and wall surfaces have been stepped to provide reveals for cable attachments and concealment of lighting. The ledges on the side walls catch the light and emphasize the experience of descending or ascending through a canyon-like volume. Slender streaks of colorful glass fly through the space, reflecting light downward, painting the walls and ceiling with slowly moving glints of color, and interconnecting the interior with the sky itself.
Each visit reveals fresh patterns of light and shadow and a sense of discovery. Travelers experience the art simultaneously as attractor, wayfinder, illuminator, and especially as a reminder that sunlight itself is a great natural asset of the State of Arizona.
Ed Carpenter Studio
1812 NW 24th Avenue
Portland, Oregon USA 97210
Tel: 503 224 6729
Fax: 503 241 3142