Master of the Arts - Skyjack’s SJ3226 scissor lift helps repair the world’s largest permanent living architecture sculpture.

Master of the Arts - Skyjack’s SJ3226 scissor lift helps repair the world’s largest permanent living architecture sculpture.

By Rachel Doornekamp, August 21, 2023


Earlier this year, a Skyjack SJ3226 scissor lift played a key role in making an interesting set of repairs.

Meander, the world’s largest permanent living architecture sculpture, needed critical adjustments.

The unique project, as well as its historic, high-end venue, presented a very specific challenge.

Rented from United Rentals, the electric scissor was used to safely and efficiently conduct the repairs while keeping Meander – and the decorative flooring – intact. 

Meander is suspended from the two-story-high wooden ceiling of Tapestry Hall in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

Just a stone’s throw away from Skyjack’s head office in Guelph, Ontario, Tapestry Hall sits in the city’s Gaslight District, where it’s quickly gaining attention for its creative reinvention of a formerly underused urban site.

A unique hybrid of art and architecture, Meander interacts with its surroundings in real time. 

As visitors pass under the piece, it moves, lights up, and makes sounds in reaction to the movement, changes in temperature, and changes in sound below it.

A flowing installation of spheres, columns, and canopies, Meander covers about 5,000 sq. ft. over the venue’s foyer, mezzanine, and into the 650-seat hall. 

Philip Beesley, a world-renowned Canadian artist, designer, and University of Waterloo professor of architecture, created the groundbreaking piece with the Living Architecture Systems Group, a collective of artists, architects, engineers, software developers and scientists in Waterloo, Ontario.

Beesley’s work is widely cited for its pioneering contributions to the rapidly emerging field of responsive and interactive architecture. 

“It’s exciting to have one of our vehicles working so close to home on such a noted sculpture,” said Malcolm Early, Skyjack VP of marketing. “The history in the building, as well as the world-renowned innovation of the venue and Meander itself, is thrilling.” 

Over 100 motion sensors and 40 embedded speakers that react in real time with sound, light, temperature, and movement, bring the interactive installation to life.

Furthermore, live data from the nearby Grand River is constantly fed into Meander to create corresponding swells of light and sound. Made up of about half a million pieces using materials such as metal and recycled polymer, the building process focused on sustainability, using fewer and thinner materials and unique methods, including 3D printing and laser cutting. The electric powered DC scissor used for the repair work maintains Meander’s sustainability message with zero emissions. 

“Our DC scissor lifts are made for indoor work, where accuracy and precision turns around sensitive material are critical,” said Early. 

The upscale venue and intricate repairs required a specific lift to do the job safely. Decorative flooring, as well as an angular room with doorways and staircases to avoid, required a relatively small, maneuverable machine.

Also, Meander’s shape varies throughout the lobby, so a machine that could lift and lower easily and quickly was needed to complete the job efficiently. As the section of Meander that needed repairs was in the lobby, the scissor lift also needed to be able
to drive into the building through the front doors after going up the accessibility ramp. 

The improved modular rail system on the SJ3226 folds down to reduce height. That let the lift pass through the grand entrance of Tapestry Hall and maneuver around lower hanging sections of Meander. Gradeability of 30% allowed access via the entry ramp, avoiding the entry stairway. The 31'7" working height and 500-lb. capacity of the SJ3226 struck the right balance of size, maneuverability, and capacity for the job.

In addition to the sensors, Meander consists of more than half a million metal and recycled polymer spheres, columns, and feathers, requiring a precise lift for repairs.

With an inside turning radius of 50", Skyjack’s DC scissor lifts are ideal for indoor work, where accuracy and exact turns around sensitive material are critical. The single-pin-release extension deck allows quick and easy up-and-over access. 

Permanent anti-slip checker plate floors and multiple lanyard attachment points around the platform provide secure footing for operators working around fragile materials. 

Tapestry Hall provided a unique space for the task. A 19th century building, it was formerly a historic limestone factory. Today, it houses events from weddings to concerts and corporate gatherings. 

Non-marking tires let the SJ3226 drive inside without damaging the decorative flooring.

Also, Skyjack’s EcoTray prevents any potential hydraulic leak from dripping onto floors. EcoTray removes the need for cumbersome diapers. That enables the pothole protection and static strap work as they were designed to, and allows access to the emergency stop, emergency lowering, and base controls.  

“We’re always happy to see our machines being used locally,” said Early. “To have them work on such an important piece of groundbreaking art is icing on the cake.”

With the SJ3226, Beesley and Tapesty Hall’s team accessed Meander to complete the sensor repairs that keep the sculpture running smoothly. Minimal downtime is highly important to the busy facility, so repairs were completed efficiently so tours and events continued on schedule. 

Skyjack’s electric DC scissor lifts are quiet, compact, versatile, and produce  zero emissions.

They can maneuver in confined indoor and outdoor job sites and are suited for a wide range of construction, maintenance, and industrial applications.

Skyjack’s focus on designing machines for the rental industry contributes to leading life-cycle value achieved through competitive acquisition costs, consistently high residual values, and a reputation for robustness and reliability. Proven designs make all Skyjack models simply reliable. 

The heart of every Skyjack machine is a proven and simple control system. Skyjack’s color coded and numbered wiring makes its machines the easiest to troubleshoot and repair, which translates into less maintenance and lower costs for customers. 

The control system on Skyjack’s new DC scissor lifts, like the SJ3226, may look different, but it provides the same simple reliability. The wiring system is still color coded and numbered, and that simplicity has been reinforced with a single control module that manages all machine functions (except emergency lowering).

A visual display module on the inside of the swing-out hydraulic tray provides an easy-to-navigate interface for troubleshooting and shows easy-to-understand plain-text codes, so no additional plug-in calibrators are needed.

Additional features like the smart charger, e-lowering, pothole protection, and load-sensing system make the SJ3226 a versatile and effective machine. 


Lift & Access is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.