Unveiled: design for Britain's tallest free-standing work of public art

   
   
28 Jan 2010 17:54:53.890

The University of Nottingham has submitted detailed plans to create the United Kingdom's tallest free-standing work of public art by July of this year - a 60-metre red and orange steel sculpture which has been named 'Aspire'.

'Aspire' - funded by an anonymous benefactor - will soar above Nottingham, one of Britain's most popular university cities, a UK Science City, and a buzzing regional capital and commercial centre.

The designer is Ken Shuttleworth of MAKE - a studio of highly creative and imaginative architects and designers, committed to buildings, spaces and places which are as striking and innovative as they are socially, economically and environmentally responsible.

Higher than the 20-metre 'Angel of the North' (Newcastle/Gateshead), 56-metre 'B of the Bang' (Manchester), and 57-metre 'Nelson's Column', 'Aspire' will be the centrepiece of The University of Nottingham's Jubilee Campus, a former industrial site in inner Nottingham, which is now undergoing sparkling regeneration.

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The University of Nottingham has submitted detailed plans to create the United Kingdom's tallest free-standing work of public art by July of this year - a 60-metre red and orange steel sculpture which has been named 'Aspire'.

'Aspire' - funded by an anonymous benefactor - will soar above Nottingham, one of Britain's most popular university cities, a UK Science City, and a buzzing regional capital and commercial centre.

The designer is Ken Shuttleworth of MAKE - a studio of highly creative and imaginative architects and designers, committed to buildings, spaces and places which are as striking and innovative as they are socially, economically and environmentally responsible.

Higher than the 20-metre 'Angel of the North' (Newcastle/Gateshead), 56-metre 'B of the Bang' (Manchester), and 57-metre 'Nelson's Column', 'Aspire' will be the centrepiece of The University of Nottingham's Jubilee Campus, a former industrial site in inner Nottingham, which is now undergoing sparkling regeneration.

Phase 1 of Jubilee Campus was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1999, and since then its cutting-edge, sustainably designed buildings have won numerous accolades.

Phase 2 of Jubilee Campus is today well underway, with the creation of a Research and Innovation Park, and signature buildings designed by MAKE - led by the creator of the Swiss Re Tower (perhaps better known as The Gherkin, in the City of London).

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Colin Campbell, said: "I think 'Aspire' has strength, elegance and real purpose."

Sir Colin Campbell added: "It says that we want talented people, wherever they are in society, wherever they live in the world, to aspire to a world class education. It captures the essence of our research across all of the academic disciplines - we aspire constantly to solve problems, devise solutions, improve health, achieve greater understanding, enrich culture. And it conveys the ambition of our city - which aspires to greater prosperity, more highly skilled and knowledge-based employment, improved educational standards and an excellent quality of life. 'Aspire' is about the University and the city making a bold statement about its future, and seeking the positive recognition Nottingham thoroughly deserves."

The sculpture - whose design, manufacture and installation will cost around £800,000 - was named following a competition amongst The University of Nottingham's 6,500 staff and 36,000 students.

Acknowledging the substantial gift which will enable Britain's tallest free-standing work of public art to be erected in Nottingham, Sir Colin Campbell said: "The piece is being funded through the great generosity of a philanthropist who prefers to remain anonymous. The sculpture is not being paid for by public money. It is a gift to The University of Nottingham, and, through us, to the people of this city.

"It goes without saying that the benefactor has a huge commitment to the value of education and also to the visual arts. They wish to create an emblem which will make people think about their ambitions, and where they could go in life. Clearly they also have an enormous affection for Nottingham."

Designer Ken Shuttleworth said: "We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to design a public artwork at the heart of the Jubilee Campus. Our design has evolved out of the desire to create a dynamic sculptural form which symbolises both the innovation and expertise that The University of Nottingham represents, and the exciting new era that the university enters as Jubilee Campus undergoes its transformation.

"We're particularly pleased that students and staff of The University of Nottingham have been responsible for actually naming the sculpture. These are the people who will experience the sculpture as part of their daily environment, and we hope that they will feel a real sense of ownership and pride in this striking new addition to the campus; we certainly think that their chosen name really captures the essence of what we were trying to achieve with the work."


- Ends -


Notes to Editor:

Aspire is currently being considered by the local planning authority (Nottingham City Council) and if approved will consist of:

* 8 metres of concrete and 52 metres of steel in tones of red and orange.

* The sculpture will be lit during the hours of darkness.


Height

overall: 60m

concrete column: 8m

mast: 52m


Diameter

concrete column: 2.202m

mast at column: 2.190 m

mast at widest: 4.820 m


Weight/mass

overall  (including foundations): 854 tonnes

concrete column: 86.2 tonnes

mast (in three sections): 49.60 tonnes


Foundations

number of piles: 36

cubic metres of concrete in foundations: 256

weight of reinforcement: 27.2 tonnes


Mast

lineal metres of steel tube: 1250

lineal metres of weld: 400 (approx)

area of paint: 620 m"²

time to first redecoration: 15-20 years


Manufacturing Information

concrete foundations and column build period: 10 weeks

mast fabrication period: 23 weeks

mast erection period: 2 days

size of crane to lift mast: 300 tonne


Design Concept: Ken Shuttleworth, MAKE

Project management: Wilson Large and Partners, Nottingham

Structural consultant: Millward Partnership, Nottingham

Fabrication: Watson Steel Limited, Bolton

Ground works: Northfield Limited, Nottingham

Artists' impressions and accompanying visual material, including photographs of Jubilee Campus, and a photograph of Professor Sir Colin Campbell, are available on request from The University of Nottingham Communications Office. Details are provided below.

* 'Aspire' will be situated on the expanded Jubilee Campus (construction well underway see http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/estate/jubilee.htm ) alongside:

The Gateway Building: This signature building will support the University's 'spin out' companies - business ventures inspired by University of Nottingham research and innovation. The striking building will unite Jubilee Campus Phases 1 and 2.

International House: This building will bring together the University's overseas interests, including the International Office, Centre for English Language Education, Institute for Work, Health and Organisations, and the recently established School of Contemporary Chinese Studies.

Amenities Building: Supporting the expanding campus, this will house a new restaurant and multi-faith space.

Cranes will lift the sculpture into place over two days, and formal opening is scheduled for no later than mid-July 2008. 'Aspire' will be manufactured in three sections.

The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.

It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as the closest Britain has to a "truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, in China and Malaysia.

Twice already this century its academics have won Nobel Prizes.

Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for three years in succession, and current UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.

Story credits

 
Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: tim.utton@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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