A little-known fact is that Zahner is the company that manufactured the massive cornices and acroterion which appear atop the Library’s building. These artistic forms were built with aluminum, the same material that’s being used to make the new artwork to be exhibited in the Library’s main hall.

The new artwork is the result of a collaborative effort involving  Design Bureau Magazine and the design and fabrication team at Zahner in Kansas City.

Zahner is known among artists and designers for providing facade-design and fabrication on many of the great works of art architecture around the world.  Zahner also played a significant role in Chicago’s landscape, producing the interior metalwork on the Sears Tower in the 1980’s, the Pritzker Pavilion designed by Frank Gehry, and most recently, the Burberry Flagship Store on Michigan Ave.

Zahner was also involved on the Harold Washington Library itself, specifically helping to design and fabricate the building’s cornices and acroterion, the gargoyle-like artworks which highlight the building’s rooftop.  Zahner worked with the architects as well as fine artist Kent Bloomer and Raymond Kaskey to produce the many artistic acroterion and custom cornices which adorn the roof of the structure. Visit the case study to learn more about Zahner’s art fabrication for the Library. 

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Building the New Artwork

The new artwork for the upcoming exhibit uses Zahner’s latest fabrication design tool, CloudWall, for ShopFloor. The software was developed to revolutionize the design and manufacturing process of facade components, while maintaining the integrity of its design.

The new artwork is a human-scale design that showcases one of the tool’s noted possibilities: the ability to upload images to create a three-dimensional surface. For the Design Bureau piece, a single diamond shape from their logo was cropped and saved as a JPG, then uploaded using the “upload image” feature of the CloudWall design tool. The resulting design is a small-scale artwork that will be on display at the Harold Washington Library.

The artwork for Harold Washington Library was built using the fin-and-brace CloudWall system, based on Zahner’s own Headquarters facade designed with Crawford Architects in Kansas City. The new work will be a smaller free-standing design. 

See the artwork at Harold Washington Library this May:

Monday-Thursday: 9 am – 9 pm
Friday and Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 1 pm – 5 pm

Visit the Harold Washington Library Center website for more information.