Certifying the Sculptures

Posted: October 30, 2015 / News
Arissara Reed & Davin Nurimba, acoustic chamber, Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2015. Photo Clyde Yee

Arissara Reed & Davin Nurimba, acoustic chamber, Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2015. Photo Clyde Yee. Supported by Partridge.

Just as houses and buildings need to be structurally stable so do the artworks at Sculpture by the Sea need to be safe for the viewing public. This work is undertaken by a structural engineer who needs to be sensitive to the artist’s vision so that the integrity of the structure does not adversely impact on the integrity of the art.

Partridge Structural has an extensive CV of working with all sorts of sculptural and performing artists, not only for Sculpture by the Sea but also the Opening Ceremony for the Sydney 2000 Games, many Hollywood films (Mad Max, Matrix, Gatsby) and numerous public artworks throughout NSW.


“Our approach is always to work together closely with the artist to ensure the most harmonious arrangement of structure and art.

Artists need confidence that their works are structurally safe, in spite of the strong winds that sometimes spring up at Marks Park and Tamarama at this time of the year. Many works are of sufficient size and complexity to require our services.

These structures are temporary and if they were designed in accord with the normal building codes, they would be uneconomic (a lot of the money would go into footings instead of the art). We therefore design the works and their footings for a statistical probability of a certain lower wind force occurring within the time of the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, and then use a Wind Management Plan to accommodate any stronger winds that may occur. This plan calls for wind forecasting (confirmed by a real-time anemometer installed on site), a knowledge of the variance of wind forces around the site and a documented procedure on installing additional tie-downs, ballast support, and finally, evacuating the site as needed.

In this way we can reduce ‘non-art’ expenditure, whilst being able to both certify the work and maintain public safety.”

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