Third Runway Embankment Wall - Carolyn Braaksma

Where is it?

Third Runway

The artwork is visible from Highway 518 on the north, Des Moines Memorial Drive on the west, and from S. 154th Street at the base of the wall.

About the Art

The concept of this piece is based on the variety of natural resources that have drawn people to the Puget Sound. The design is cast in the face of concrete panels that each measure 25 feet in area. The images have a relief of about three inches and a natural color range provided by the hues of exposed aggregate. With a boat as the focal point, monumental figureheads and companion imagery signify travel and adventure. The hard surface of the bas-relief is balanced with the soft environment and landscaping.

The Details


Carolyn Braaksma




Bas-relief wall (concrete, terrazzo pattern)


The north wall is approximately 86' high x 1,220' in length and the west wall is approximately 133' high x 1,460' in length

Did you know?

Braaksma first noticed how molds made of timber influenced the final appearance of the cast form's surface while working as a welder. This caused her to incorporate sculptural elements into concrete works.

  • <p>© Carolyn Braaksma</p>
  • <p>© Carolyn Braaksma</p>
  • <p>© Carolyn Braaksma</p>

About the Artist

For over twenty years, Carolyn Braaksma has created site-integrated public art for government agencies, educational institutions, and municipalities. Her understanding of design and construction materials allows her to reinterpret local references of a city into defining characteristics of a community.

"My public art strives to engage a community by reminding it of its unique background, its opportunity to maintain that history, and its potential to positively add to its status." – Carolyn Braaksma

Short Bio

Braaksma graduated with a degree in fine art from the Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado. She went on to complete graduate work in studio art at University of Minnesota where she learned of the possibilities inherent in public art. Incorporating art and her tried-and-true media (concrete and iron) into public sites, Braaksma has worked to translate ideas of “history, culture, and community […] into an accessible visual language.”

Similar Artwork

At the Airport

Carolyn Braaksma is not the only artist at Sea-Tac Airport interested in providing appeal to cement structures! Visit Clark Wiegman's piece on the 188th Street Tunnel. Both Braaksma and Wiegman made a point to highlight the natural icons of the Northwest. Click the link below in the Connected Stories section to see the story of Wiegman's Wing Fern.

Third Runway Embankment Wall - Carolyn Braaksma

Site-specific imagery and local references create a special sense of place.