steel, motorised elements, lighting

75 x 45 meters


cancelled due to client side management changes


Unrealised Proposal for Melbourne Airport

This sculpture is a sequence of towers or spires up to 15 meters high in a geometric arrangement based on the growth patterns of clumping plants and also on diagrams of the eddies and vortices in fluid and aerodynamics. This sculpture is designed to work both from the ground and from the air. It has a cellular organization and looks as if it is in the midst of a process of growth. Its concentric rings could be either growing larger or smaller. The sculpture ripples out into the surrounding landscape from the central spires and has both an industrial and an organic feel, an ambiguous sense of purpose or function. It rises from the earth and seeks to connect to the sky. It feels both embedded in the landscape and pointing to the sky.

This work reads in the round. The aerial view is an important aspect of this work's legibility.  It is inspired by my lifelong fascination with maps and with the strange patterns one sees and interprets far below on the ground when looking down from a plane window at 8,000 meters. It would be legible from passing aeroplanes and people might wonder what it is - industrial, recreational or religious?

The initial inspiration was by the flight of birds and the pioneering machines of early aviation as well as classical legends of flight, Icarus Daedalus and other pre modern aerial reveries. Their twisting structures are inspired by the vortices of air that form around the fuselage and wings of aeroplanes and rockets.

The history of flight and rocketry from the Wright Brothers and William Hargreave to the powerful rockets of the US and Soviet space programmes as well as the Australian rocket range at Woomera are also inspirations. The spires rise in logarithmic sequences based on the fibbonacci series. They could be seen as a visual metaphor for the dream of flight and transcendence of the gravity of Earth’s surface. The slow rotation twists these forms into a constant state of rising into the air whether they are still or in motion. The forms have both an ethereal and an earthy quality like an eroded landform as if they had been formed by wind. Optically they shimmer like a Muybridge motion study with multiple touch-downs as if a stop motion of successive fly-pasts.

The spires emerge from a concentric stepped landscaped plinth. From the periphery each level rises 150 mm above the preceding level so that the spires sit 1300 mm above grade.

The movement of the sculpture will be either wind or motor driven, depending on the outcomes of  they are designed to catch the wind in one direction.

Each level is contained by black bands of black smooth concrete/stone 50 cm wide. The inner rings are filled with white quartz chip or pebble, about 40mm in size.


Integrated Lighting
300 Ground mounted LED lumieres provide dramatic night lighting are indicated by 100mm circles in between the facets of the spires on the plan

These lumieres will have a simple programme to alternate between red and blue light.

Technical Details

Overall diameter of outer ring 75 meters

Diameter of inner most ring 25 meters

Height of platform – 120 cms



Main spire x 766 cm diameter 1360 cm high

3 middle spire 5800 cm diameter 840 cm high

6 x small spires 384 cm diameter and 200 cm high


material: 2 or 3 mm steel sheet wound into spirals, with perforated pattern

to be determined.


Spatial Options

I am working with various options and would refine and select one of them in the design development process. I have had one of these options rendered and animated but it is not a pre


Kinetic Options

1. Non-kinetic forms that have a sense of movement, uplift and rotation as motorists, cyclists and pedestrians move past

2. Wind driven rotation

3. Motorised rotation

4. An LED light array that turns on and off in sequence to give the illusion of motion and to make for very dramatic lighting effects at night.

They may need to be damped to  not go too fast and needs a very durable and as maintenance free rotational  mechanisms as possible. Similar to a bore water windmill.

I had consultation from the Fluid Mechanics Group from the  University of Melbourne who would work with us upon project approval, to create a small scale marquette of the sculpture and have it tested in their wind tunnel to tell us exactly how effective they will be.

Engineering, Fabrication and Installation was worked on with Thomas Ryan, engineer and J K Fasham Fabricator