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SSDA Awards

SSDA 2011 – 2010 Festival of Speed Sculpture, Goodwood

Containing 32 fixed radius rolled tube sections, the Festival of Speed Sculpture is an ingenious work of steelwork fabrication and erection.

FACT FILE: 2010 Festival of Speed Sculpture, Goodwood

Sculptor: Gerry Judah
Structural engineer: Capita Symonds
Steelwork contractor: Littlehampton Welding Ltd
Main contractor: Littlehampton Welding Ltd
Client: Gerry Judah for Alfa Romeo

The Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex is a world renowned annual celebration of motorsport history, which regularly features famous cars and drivers.

Each year a new sculpture is commissioned, a sculpture that is displayed for the duration of the festival’s three days as a signature piece of artwork.

For last year’s event Alfa Romeo spon-sored a sculpture by renowned sculptor Gerry Judah to celebrate the company’s centenary. Standing 18.5m high and with a maximum width of 25m, the design is reminiscent of the car company’s Quadrifoglio badge. The sculpture features an Alfa Romeo P2 (a P2 won the inaugural Automobile World Championship in 1925) and a 2003 8C Competizione, both cradled in the steelwork.

These cradles holding each of the cars have hidden connections between the vehicles and the main supporting structure. The structure itself may appear to be 175m of continuous tube twisted into shape, but it is actually 32 individual sections of 323.9mm diameter steel tube.

To succeed in its structural form the sculpture had to be a perfect continuous loop without visible joints or any sudden changes in direction.

“To achieve this, the geometry was created using a 3D CAD variation of an old draughting programme for constructing five-centre masonry arches,” explains Bruno Postle, Capita Symonds Project Engineer. “This provided visual perfection, but also allowed the structure to be assembled from the multiple pieces, which in turn meant the sculpture was easily assembled, checked and prefabricated.”

Several splice connections had to be made on site, and this called for steelwork contractor Littlehampton Welding to develop an adjustable bracket that provided alignment and structural integrity and allowed three axis adjustments before sections were finally welded together.

Each of the loops consists of 80m of CHS and weighs 6t. There needed to be eight additional connections between the tubes, taking advantage of the way the tubes turn in on themselves to provide self-bracing of the structure. Each of these connections consists of a 125mm diameter bar completely concealed and inserted using a technique developed by Littlehampton Welding.

“The setting out of the holes for these pin connections was a critical part of the fabrication process,” says Steve Horrod, Project Manager for Littlehampton Welding. “To get the pins through the pre-drilled holes in the tubes we used a screw-on point to guide them.”

The final result is a monumental sculpture consisting entirely of what appears to be two perfectly seamless lengths of steel tied into a huge bow.

“The structure could only have been made from steel, nothing else provides the strength, durability, flexibility and simplicity of construction,” says Mr Postle.

Once last year’s festival was over, the sculpture was dismantled and moved to the nearby Goodwood Sculpture Park, to be reassembled as permanent installation, minus the two cars.

In conclusion, the judges say this excellent fabrication and accurate erection have created a seamless shape in the sky. A tribute to the finesse achievable with steelwork.

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