Friday, March 9, 2012

#2 - Flooring

Although imported tile does not seem to have much significance to the flyers passing through the airport, they claim it helps with the flow of people. The company who completed the tile in Denver International was a company called "Colorado Design Inc." They are notorious for not only the tile at DIA, but also the Pepsi Center, Rangeview high school, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and many more. Because they have been around for over 35 years, they are credible and they have their techniques mastered - terrazzo being one of them (a large portion of the flooring at DIA is made of terrazzo).

"Terrazzo consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass or other suitable chips, sprinkled or unsprinkled, and poured with a binder that bonds to the floor surface. Terrazzo is cured, ground and polished to a smooth surface or otherwise finished to produce a uniformly textured surface. Complex shapes, patterns and even images can be rendered in terrazzo" (Denver Area Tile & Terrazzo).

The traditional Native American design appears in the "Great Hall Floor" in Denver International. "The river pattern emerging from the wings of the piece suggests the four rivers of Colorado's Great Divide and the history of our state is told through bronze pictographs embedded in the terrazzo" (DIA).

Colorado Design Inc. claims that Turner Construction Company was the general contractor for the construction of the floor. I searched through all 1,251 projects listed on Turner's website, and Denver International is no where to be found. They have at least ten airport listings, and not one of them was DIA. You would think that such a big airport would be listed under their accomplishments, but it's not.

Analyzing the floor in depth:
(If they had already ran past their budget, why did they spend the money for these small details?)

Sisnaajini: Blanca Peak in Colorado. Known in Navajo as SisnaajinĂ­ or White Shell 
Mountain. It is one of the four sacred mountain representing the East, and it's symbolized with white. There are many Navajo stories surrounding this mountain. It is the fourth highest peak of the Rocky Mountains, and the eighth highest peak in the contiguous United States.

Mt. Blanca: Reference above "Sisnaajini." Why they mention this twice is anyone’s guess. And why they don’t mention these other three that complete the story of the Four scared pillars is anyone’s guess, too.

Dzit Dit Gaii: I find it weird that DIA chose to write this on their floor, as it has no precise translation. I've read many theories but most say it means "white mountain," because "Dzit" translates directly to "white," and "Gaii" translates to "mountain."

Cochetopa: There are many places in Colorado with the name Cochetopa (Cochetopa Pass, Cochetopa National Forest, Cochetopa Hills, Cochetopa Park - although some are currently renamed). 

There are a lot more engravings in the floor, most of which do not have direct translations. There is also an engraving of an American Indian who is decapitated and on a railing, but no one really knows why. The letters "Au Ag" are referenced in the flooring as well but I'll refer back to that later. Either way, it is weird how much money they spent on the small details, but for whatever reason they felt it necessary. I did not find any specific evidence to support that tile was brought it from all over the world, so I'm curious to know where that theory came from. If it is true, I wonder why there are no records of it.


"Denver's Finest Commercial Tile & Terrazzo Contractor." Denver Area Tile & Terrazzo. Web. 09 Mar. 2012. <>. 

"Turner Construction Company." Turner Construction Company. Web. 09 Mar. 2012. <>.

"Denver International Airport." Denver International Airport. Web. 09 Mar. 2012. <>.

"Blanca Peak." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 June 2012. Web. 09 Mar. 2012. <>.

"Denver Airport Underground Base and Weird Murals." Anomalies Unlimited. Web. 07 Mar. 2012. <>.

"Anomalies at Denver Airport." Inicio. Web. 09 Mar. 2012. <>.

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