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Union Station Case Study

We like to think we’ve seen it all at RamJack. And for the most part, we have.
After decades in business, we’ve encountered just about every foundation
problem or project you can have. We’ve also completed projects at all different
types of residential and commercial properties throughout Wichita, the state of
Kansas – and the entire country for that matter.


But setting up an intricate art installation outside of a 106-year-old building? That
was a new one even for us.


Last summer, a Kansas City-based RamJack team was contracted to help install
“Reflecting Motion” outside of the Union Station in Kansas City.
The installation, created by artist Patrick Shearn and his Poetic Kinetics team, was
made up of seventy-five thousand reflective strips of holographic film. Each of
these were hung from small wires connected to a RamJack anchoring system so
that the strips appeared to float freely in the wind.
Of course, Ram Jack’s helical anchors came in handy to keep this floating display
in place.


The RamJack crew kicked off the sky sculpture’s installation by installing a
number of these anchors, before handing the reigns over to a rigging company to
connect the installation to wires.


Just like how the millions of pounds of limestone and granite that built Union
Station in 1914 came from places across the U.S., all of the steel installed by
RamJack to help hold up the art project – every RamJack project, for that matter –
was American.


For the RamJack crew working on this project, a major focus was minimizing
their impact on the grounds and traffic. After all, thousands of people visit Union
Station each day; keeping them out of harm’s way and leaving no trace of their
work after the installation came down were hugely important.


Another hurdle for this project was timing. While it’s not uncommon for RamJack
to be sharing a space with other contractors and work crews, on this particular
mission they had to coordinate with the artist, construction riggers, the engineer
and Union Station itself – all in a short time frame.


When complete, the oblong-shaped looked like a river suspended in the air during
a gentle breeze, and perhaps more like rapids during more powerful winds.
After months of dazzling Kansas City Union Station crowds, “Reflecting Motion”
was unfortunately damaged when a severe storm came through the area and left
thousands without power.


The installation detached from the wires during the storm, as it was designed to
do in high winds. Some of the films were damaged, and as it happened soon
before the installation was set to come down, the venue decided to end the project
early.


Despite this, it was a well-received project throughout its time at Kansas City’s
Union Station and was a rousing success for the Poetic Kinetics team and
RamJack.


While it’s great to rely on experience to help diagnose or fix a foundation issue,
we love it when we get to use creative problem solving on a project we’ve never
done before.