Art Wall at HBKU Doha University - Student Center

Completed in the Summer of 2010, Helix is a project designed by artist Jan Hendrix with architectural firm Legoretta & Legoretta of Mexico. Zahner engineered and manufactured the painted aluminum panels and substructure in Kansas City and shipped the completed pieces to Doha, Qatar, where local installers placed the large metal plates on both the interior and exterior frameworks.

The project involves hundreds of massive water jet cut and painted aluminum panels, and includes a 40' high tower in the center courtyard. The pattern cut into the panels replicates the drawings of Jan Hendrix. 

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Related Project

Hendrix Mexico Sculpture

Produced using milled plate-aluminum, this sculpture is a permanent installation in Central Mexico, one of several projects by artist Jan Hendrix produced by Zahner. Mr. Hendrix has worked with Zahner on numerous occasions for projects in the United States, Mexico, and Qatar.Completed in 2013, the latest Jan Hendrix sculpture was commissioned by a private collector as a permanent installation on the client's property. The human-scale sculpture includes a landscaped lighting system designed to accentuate the polished aluminum surface.The material is a plate aluminum, polished to a near-mirror finish. The artist desired a highly reflective aesthetic for the surface. Many of the artist's thick-cut metal designs were manufactured by Zahner using water jet cutting which gives the metal surface a matte edge. For this project, the artist desired a reflective edge. Zahner worked with the artist to develop a milling technique which prevented the need for additional buffing and polishing of the aluminum surface.Milling the aluminum also gave the artist flexibility for how the cuts were removed from the material. Zahner worked collaboratively with Jan Hendrix through several different iterations, discovering that a special mill tip and machine speed gave the best finish. The softened edge makes the piece more approachable and touchable as a consideration of the artwork's street-level presence. The final cut features a rounded bevel and a polished edge which gives the milled aluminum surface an aesthetic of liquid metal. Upon the artwork's completion, Jan Hendrix mentioned that the chosen finish gave the work a jewelry-like effect, stating that the piece looked as though it was cut from pure silver.

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Art Wall at Doha, lit at night.
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Designed to Build

Jan Hendrix worked closely with the Zahner Design Assist team to develop the project for production. The artist provided to Zahner both a digital model as well as multiple physical models as the design progressed. 

The project required close attention to each panel's relation to one another, so that the artist's lines would transition without breaks from panel to panel. This is called the 'Parametric Relationship' and it's a key part of the ZIRA patented system developed by Zahner to translate images, drawings, and patterns into metal panel systems.

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From left to right: Jan Hendrix, Zahner President  CEO L. William Zahner, and Zahner Engineering Director Paul Martin

The completed project features the artist's pattern on both the interior and exterior of the student center.  Note how the lines transition smoothly across seams from plate to plate. Zahner engineers worked to transfer the artist's drawings into metal, all while maintaining the system's parametric relationship.

Each half-inch plate is 20 feet by 8 feet, and the material was water-jet cut on our system of the same size. To see how artists are collaborating with Zahner, including works by Jan Hendrix, visit Hands of the Artist.

Zahner worked with the artist, Jan Hendrix, to define his image digitally so that it could be water-jet cut and fabricated into a cohesive composition with smooth lines flowing across multiple panels.  

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The public artwork and courtyard is located in the outer edges of Northwest Doha, Qatar. The project was one of the first to be completed with Jan Hendrix, who has worked with Zahner engineers and fabricators on a number of projects. Learn more about producing similar surfaces in water jet-cut aluminum by Contacting Zahner.