Archforms 1973 – Inspired by a Wow Moment

While driving across the country (Boise Idaho, to Bordentown New Jersey),19 years old, on my way to my first assignment in the USAF, I was struck by many new experiences and sights. Prior to this trip, the largest city I had ever visited was Seattle. So, when I came off the plains of Wyoming, through Nebraska, Iowa, and Western Illinois, the skyline of Chicago came at me like a beacon from nowhere. Standing proud of the already impressive structures, was the Sear’s Tower, just 4 years old, black, ominous, and the tallest building I had ever seen. A full 104 stories taller than the One Capitol building in Boise, and towering 66 stories over 901 5th Avenue in Seattle. All I could think when seeing the Sears tower for the first time was “Wow!”

To say that the experience left an impression would be an understatement. Looking down from the observation deck on the 103rd floor was mind bending, and intimidating to someone who had only flown in an airplane twice, before the experience.

My 1973 object is inspired by that iconic Chicago structure and homage to the impression it left on me.

Archfroms 1973

From small Northwest towns where the tallest structures around were grain silos and water towers, with a desire to see new things and travel, I knew at that moment – I was on the right path.

As an artist in the making, and a fan of Architecture – having joined the AF to pay to attend Architectural School – I noticed that the structure was actually four sectional blocks stacked on one another. I retained that in my interpretation of it, as well as the vented floor sections that divide the larger glass facia. I left some of the structure open, and added lighted panels at the lower mid and upper sections, and down facing light at the lowest street level.

You can see a great deal more, and a 360 degree video of the finished work at the Lumenique Site under Archforms 1973.

The skyline in 1977. I remember wondering how it was built, and just how much money Sears must be making to have afforded to pay for it. (Image source of unknown origin)

As a strange twist of fate – in my later life as Director of Design for Winona Lighting, I was part of the team that created a new ceiling “chandelier” that was part of a large building update in the early 90’s, when Sears put the building up for sale.

New Lobby ceiling, Produced by Winona Lighting

I have an affinity for Chicago, born from these experiences. I enjoy its scale, and its island-like presence surrounded by the plains of the Midwest. In fact, I like it so much that I now life in the Chicagoland suburbs, perhaps the first place of residence I chose intentionally, over others I have landing in for positions I have held. Since the Sears tower experience, I have seen and visited taller structures. Yet, this remains one of my favorites.

If You Like What You See

If you like this object, and are interested in having it for your own collection, or know someone else who might enjoy it for their collection, please visit, or forward a link to my web site Lumenique Main Site.

Author: kwillmorth

Photographer and Artist

One thought on “Archforms 1973 – Inspired by a Wow Moment”

  1. You are amazingly talented. The unique view of the world around you inspires me to visualize outside the 2 dimensional into the art in all things nature made, as well as man made. Your work combines all together. Great write up Kevin, I had no idea!

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