“Prairie Tower” is the largest Italian glass mosaic tile mural in the United States, and pays homage to the history of the native Iowa prairie. A double repeating pattern of native plants in a stylized deco landscape of field and sky serves as the image for the “Paragon Prairie Tower.” The main elements of the concept include the tower constructed of precast concrete panels. The image is one of the prairie—big bluestem grass, black-eyed Susans, and other colors found in the landscape of field and sky. The image was then transferred to tiles, affixed to a mesh material in Ravenna, Italy, following a computer- generated pattern, then shipped to the site for installation. Lighting also plays a key role in the project; lights are positioned on the surrounding plaza to shine up and evenly illuminate the mosaic at night. The tower is topped off with a light in a blue drum, silhouetted against the sky. The original image by Dahlquist was interpreted by a computer program into mosaic glass tiles. Prairie Tower featuring nearly 1.8 million Italian glass mosaic tiles with terra cotta relief and cast GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete) relief tiles in a frieze at the base. More than 5,400 sheets of mosaic glass tiles were installed.
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