Nottingham’s Aspire Towers Over Statue of Liberty

Named Aspire, Nottingham is now home to Britain’s tallest free-standing public work of art. Finally erected earlier this week, the giant ice-cream cone stands at an incredible 60m, making it even taller than the Statue of Liberty.

The 60m free-standing structure - Aspire in Nottingham

Designed by Ken Shuttleworth of MAKE, architect of the Millennium Bridge and 30 St Mary Axe in London, the red steel sculpture stands at Nottingham University at the Jubilee campus. I say red, it’s actually four very specific shades of red, namely Purple Red, Ruby Red, Carmine Red and Traffic Red.

Shuttleworth spoke of the naming:

We’re particularly pleased that students and staff have been responsible for actually naming the sculpture. These are the people who will experience the sculpture as part of their daily environment. We hope they will feel a real sense of ownership and pride in this striking new addition to the campus. We certainly think that their chosen name really captures the essence of what we are trying to achieve with the work.

My immediate thoughts were if Aspire had been deliberately named after the Aspire Tower sports centre in Dubai which happens to look eerily similar. However, it seems to be just a coincidence.

The height of of Aspire represents 60 years of the University’s opening and the name was selected by students and staff. It cost around £800,000 and the money was an anonymous gift donation. The height is made up from 52m of steel and 8m of concrete. Aspire has its own website which you can view here: http://aspire.nottingham.ac.uk/

In similar new, Shard at London Bridge is set to join Aspire as another symbolic skyline feature of Britain. Except this one’s going to be an actual building. With a height of 310m, the tower will be one of the tallest buildings in Europe.

I like it when a skyline has some definition to it. It’s not so much that places without a unique structure have no feeling to them, just that sometimes is does take a building or structure that really stands out to have an impact on you.

Recycling the London Olympic Stadium

Plans are being considered to allow a 55,000 seat tier of the London Olympic stadium to be shipped over to Chicago after its use.

London Olympic Stadium

The stadium as it is, is made up of several layers, which includes a base of 25,000 seats, an upper framework and a top tier of 55,000 seats. The idea is that the top level can be removed, split into sections and transported to Chicago for reuse. This would leave a 25,000 stadium for further use in London and allow Chicago to reuse those 55,000 seats for their stadium expansion.

It’s a great idea for lots of reasons. There’s no need to mention the environmental benefits of reusing a seat tier of that size, but it would save both cities a significant amount of money. Chicago would save more on their building works, whilst London could recuperate some of that hard Olympic pound they’ve been flaunting.

The reason Illinois has come into play is because they’re currently favourites to host the 2016 Olympics. However, in reality it could easily go to any of the Olympic bidders. I particularly like the idea that it gives poorer countries a much greater chance of hosting, as there would be a significant reduction in the costs of running the events.

So how well will all this go, and just how likely is it to happen? Well, it’s certainly not the first case of stadia reuse. The Cricket World Cup in Barbados reused some 16,000 seats from one of Germany’s World Cup 2006 stadiums to great success. The project needs to be carefully planned to ensure it can easily be taken apart and all the different sections fit easily onto cargo ships. A nice aside is that construction has started ahead of schedule. It’s easy to be cynical of England’s flagship building-work, but let’s hope it all goes to plan.