Stone Map Adds to the Marvel of Denver Airport

Stone World - April, 1994

stone floor world map at Denver International Airport

The map at Denver International Airport incorporates 5,800 pieces of stone.

A full-size computer drawing of the entire map was generated with a code for each part to ease assembly and Installation. Mr. Aalto described the package as "very much like a jigsaw puzzle, only each part was numbered." Every stone part was individually wrapped and boxed to protect it and ease identification.

"Installation was also a challenge because the surface was curved and the pieces were very delicate," Mr. Aalto pointed out. "Each piece of stone had to fit precisely In Its area in order for the map to fit overall."■

Stone Map,
Denver International Airport

Client: City of Denver
Project designer: David Griggs, Denver, CO
Stone design collaboration: Harri Aalto, Creative Edge Corp., Fairfield, IA; David Griggs, Denver, CO
Supplier: Granite and Marble World Trade, Chicago, IL
General contractor: Weitz-Cohen, Denver, CO
Installer: Creative Edge Corp., Fairfield, IA; Kriznar Marble, Denver

As if the design of the Denver International Airport wasn't impressive enough, a map in the concourse details the world in natural stone. This map incorporates 5.800 stone pieces, including Imperial Red granite, African Red, Triaxes, Verde Oriental Light, Verde Oriental Dark, Amarelo, Absolute Black, Rojo Alicante, Vermion Green and Thassos White.

All of the pieces were under 12 Inches (30.5 cm) In size, as they were cut from 12 x 12 x 3/8, (30.5 x 30.5 x 1 cm) tiles supplied by Granite and Marble World Trade of Chicago, IL. 'The shape of each assembled piece created the longitude and latitude grid for the map," said Harri Aalto of Creative Edge Corp. (CEC) of Fairfield, IA, which fabricated the project with waterjet technology. The stone design was a collaboration between Mr. Aalto and David Griggs, the project designer, of Denver.

The stone was installed by CEC and Kriznar Marble of Denver on a concrete dome that had a wood and steel frame, explained Mr. Aalto. Thinset with additive was used to adhere the stone. The dome measures 55 x 25 feet (16.7 x 7.6 m) and has about a 4-foot (1.2 m) rise for the domed surface. The entire map was laid out and preassembled at CEC to check the fit, and small pieces of stone were joined together with epoxy into 12- x 12-inch (30.5 x 30.5 cm) shapes.

"They key challenge on the map from programming to installation was the handling and organizing of almost 6,000 dissimilar pieces of stone in a precise manner," explained Mr. Aalto. "Also, many of the stone pieces were extremely delicate because of their shape.

"To digitize CEC's original drawing into the computer and CAM the enormous program was challenging," Mr. Aalto continued. "The programmer had enough Information to write 10 huge novels."