Finally an airport project that nobody can argue about. Down in Houston, the oil capital of the United States, the airport has long had a nice display of eight columns, placed out near the Bush Intercontinental airport back in the 1990s. The “skins” on the 24-foot columns represent the countries that were present at the G-7 economic summit in 1990 – Japan, Germany, France, Canada, the U. S., Italy, Great Britain, and the European Community. Each column leans at a 10-degree angle toward a central point representing Houston, and the distance between each spike and this central point represents the distance from Houston. They’ve been out at the airport for 16 years, having been moved there for temporary display. As the airport notes, “days turned into months and then years” Rick Vacar, director of the Houston Airport System says, “It was never planned for the Light Spikes to become a permanent exhibit at the airport, but once they were here it was pretty evident that they fit in pretty well.” But by this winter it was apparent that a facelift was past due, notes the airport system, which also runs the close-in Hobby airport known so well to Southwest flyers.
The re-do gave new fluorescent lights inside the columns, aluminium flex frames that can withstand winds of up to 130 miles per hour, and new landscaping to the area. We always wondered about these pillars on arriving in Houston (and why they didn’t wilt in the city’s legendary heat) and now we know. But we will be interested to see if the Houston people put up an Emirates pillar to mark their newest destination, Dubai on Emirates, or a Russian and Singaporean column to mark their latest coup – a non-stop on Singapore to Moscow and on to Singapore. Or even an oil well, which would denote the main reason why the city is on the map.