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Uncharted Territories: Pushing Boundaries with Unfamiliar Materials

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

I chatted with project designer Katie to learn how the Synthesis team used dichroic glass to make the "Celebration Wall" at the INDOT Clear Creek Welcome Center an ever-changing visual display that enthralls and delights all who encounter it.

Q: What is the "Celebration Wall" at the Clear Creek Welcome Center?

A: The "Celebration Wall" is an architectural feature designed to serve as both an artistic element and a functional component. It’s both a glass rain screen as well as an immersive visual experience.

Q: What exactly is dichroic glass?

A: Dichroic lass is a film that is applied to glass surfaces. It has multiple applications and is often employed in various art installations.

Dichroic glass is a film that is applied to glass surfaces.

Q: How did the idea for the "Celebration Wall" transform from a checkered sketch to using dichroic glass?

A: Initially, the concept involved incorporating LED lights or other moving elements, inspired by the checkered flag commonly associated with the Indy 500. However, LED lights were expensive and less effective during daylight hours, which was a challenge since the wall would primarily be viewed during the day. We discovered dichroic glass and realized it would be a more cost-effective solution that works well for both day and night viewing.

Q: Was dichroic glass a material previously utilized in projects?

A: No, the use of dichroic glass was a new experience for everyone in the office. About six to eight months ago, the team stumbled upon this material while exploring colorful options for skylights. We decided to experiment with it when playing with options for the “Celebration Wall.”

We created this prototype that angled the glass at 3 degrees.

Q: How was dichroic glass applied to the design of the "Celebration Wall"?

A: Initially, the glass was planned to be flat, but we found that the product only featured two shifting colors. We decided to angle the glass and it created four distinct colors instead of two. By experimenting with different types of film and angling it at approximately three degrees, we were able to achieve a more vibrant and dynamic appearance.

Q: What is the scale of the "Celebration Wall"?

A: The glass used in the "Celebration Wall" are large 4’6” pieces. The substantial size was intentional so that it was visible from the main highway. These large glass pieces catch the sun and capture the attention of passersby. With a length of over 300 feet, the wall makes a significant statement… much like entering the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!

Q: What was the goal behind creating the "Celebration Wall"?

A: The objective was to recreate the spectacle and excitement associated with entering the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, offering a similar experience upon arrival and departure at the welcome center. Serving as a statement piece, the "Celebration Wall" aims to captivate and engage visitors, embodying the spirit and grandeur of the overall design.


By combining artistic flair with practical functionality, the "Celebration Wall" not only serves as an eye-catching architectural feature but also enhances the visitor experience at the speedway. Its use of dichroic glass adds vibrancy and dynamism, creating an ever-changing visual display that enthralls and delights all who encounter it.


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