Artistic Engineering lifts Britain’s biggest sculpture

Tony Gee’s expertise was called upon to assist with the erection of Britain’s largest artwork sculpture, Temenos, which was formally handed over to the people of Middlesbrough on 10th June.Our skills in construction methodology and temporary works design assisted Freyssinet in the erection of Anish Kapoor’s artistic creation for the main contractor Balfour Beatty.

One of the five proposed ‘Tees Valley Giants’, Temenos, meaning sacred ground in Greek, is located at Middlehaven Dock as a symbol of regeneration in the area. The structure is nearly 50m high and consists of five miles of stainless steel wire in a cable net, strung between two hoops, 32m and 28m in diameter, one of which is hanging in the air from a 45m tall mast. The structure as a whole weighs 156 tonnes and cost £2.7million.

Tony Gee and Freyssinet worked up an ingenious method to temporarily support both rings and mast on the ground whilst the cable net was weaved in between them. A winch cable system, designed by Tony Gee, was then attached to the smaller elliptical ring, between the winch at the mast base and snatch blocks at the top of the mast. Once the cable was tensioned, the temporary supports were removed and the ring winched into a position where the permanent stays between the top of the ring and the mast could be connected. The cable net was then completed and the circular hoop rotated back into its final position by tensioning its back stays and thus tensioning the whole system.

June 2010

The making of Temenos

Temenos time-lapse

Temenos Sculpture