Passengers » Art at the Airport

Take Off

Location: Outdoor Entrance to William P. Hobby Airport

From the air, Houston appears a city nestled within a beautiful green lush landscape. Meandering bayous, nature preserves and wildlife sanctuaries are intermingled with neighborhoods, office buildings and industrial complexes. Both urban and wild, is Carter Ernst and Paul Kittelson’s concept for Take Off, a tribute to this co-existence.

An over-sized stainless steel bird’s nest appears to float above a natural garden of sub-tropical plantings. The inter-woven branches create a stylized, animated display of glimmering lines.
Take Off by Paul Kittelson and Carter Ernst

This natural form of architecture, rendered in industrial materials, is reminiscent of our bustling, contemporary city set amid the coastal plains. Twenty-seven feet in diameter and twenty feet in height, Take Off serves as a welcoming beacon to the City of Houston and a reminder to visitors of our origins of flight.

About the Artist

Houstonians Paul Kittelson and Carter Ernst have a long history of working collaboratively on public projects throughout the Houston area and beyond. The artists’ close connection to the city provides them first-hand knowledge of the qualities that make Houston what it is. History, architecture and natural environment have served as subjects for many of their public works. Their work often uses familiar and common images in unique and visually stimulating ways.

Ernst and Kittelson’s most notable, large-scale works include: Passage (1997) at UH Downtown, and Heritage Lanterns (2005) at Root Square Memorial Park in downtown Houston. Kittelson is also well-known for the Bayou Beacons, 2001, located on I-45. In addition, they have completed numerous SPARK Parks for school campuses and have been active members of Houston’s art community for more than twenty years.

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