A modern mathematical masterpiece
The University of Oregon recently completed a renovation of Fenton Hall which has been home to the mathematics department for the past 35 years.
In addition to updating the interior, the University hosted an open competition for the design of an installation to hang in the building’s atrium. The winning submission, entitled ‘Subdivision’, came from Los Angeles artist Volkan Alkanoglu, whose mathematically inspired installation has been designed to prompt communication among the three floors of Fenton Hall.
A unique challenge to this project was the size and composition of the installation. SubDivision is a 14 foot high, by 10 foot long, by 4 ½ foot wide sculptural form derived from the curving geometry created by several opposed ellipses.
The installation is composed of 550 uniquely shaped aluminum sheets, each constructed using a custom scripted algorithm. Over 5,000 aluminum rivets have been used to hold the components together.
BuroHappold provided an evaluation of the technical feasibility and preparation of concept drawings and calculations. Our specialist team used the architect’s digital 3D model to establish the object’s weight and develop a connection strategy for the complex sculptural installation.
The team determined that five steel cables should been used to balance the 60lb sculpture in space and ensure its stability in the event of an earthquake. This hanging method is both safe and aesthetically pleasing.
Ron Elad, Associate Principal, Technical Designer
The resulting art work succeeds in encapsulating the past, present and future of Fenton Hall while providing an engaging visual and physical link between its different floors.
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