Arup helps Studio Echelman create suspended sculpture in Boston, US

5 May 2015 (Last Updated May 5th, 2015 18:30)

Engineering firm Arup has collaborated with Studio Echelman to construct the half-acre fiber net sculpture that has been installed over the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, US.

Arup Echelman sculpture

Engineering firm Arup has collaborated with Studio Echelman to construct the half-acre fiber net sculpture that has been installed over the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, US.

The sculpture was designed by artist Janet Echelman of Studio Echelman.

The figurine is in place 365ft above the greenway and covers nearly 600ft between three high-rise buildings.

Echelman's sculpture was commissioned by the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.

Design for the artwork was inspired by transformation of the waterfront in Boston after the creation of Big Dig and Greenway.

The net was unveiled this month and will be in place until October.

This project represents the fifth collaboration between Studio Echelman and Arup, which acted as the lead engineering designer.

Arup Boston associate principal Patrick McCafferty said: "For this piece, the engineering and physical constraints of the site directly influenced the sculpture's overall form.

"Our first task was to identify buildings with sufficient reserve capacity to resist the many tens of thousands of pounds of force the sculpture will exert in this particularly windy urban corridor of Boston.

"The engineering and physical constraints of the site directly influenced the sculpture's overall form."

"The building capacities and their geometric constraints directly influenced the form, density and overall composition of the piece. As such, the sculpture can be viewed as the physical manifestation of the potential energy embodied within the Greenway itself."

In addition to Studio Echelman, the engineering firm also collaborated with Autodesk and Shawmut Design & Construction for the project.

More than 100 miles of polyester twine and half a million knots were used for the sculpture, which will be illuminated with 44 individually programmed LED lights. The pre-stressed mesh network was constructed from hand-spliced ropes braided from Honeywell Spectra fibers and are said to be eight times stronger than steel cable.

The lighting design provided by Arup helped Janet Echelman to create the sculpture during night.


Image: Echelman netting sculpture installed in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: courtesy of Benjamin Johnson/Shawmut Design and Construction.