Location: Colchester
Year completed: In progress
Client: Colchester Borough Council
Architect: Dallas Pierce Quintero 
Wider team: Darke Steel

“Fixing the link” is seen by Colchester Borough Council (with support from Essex County Council and Greater Anglia) as a key aspect in their aim of encouraging more pedestrians to use and enjoy the 1 mile route from the rail station to the town centre. The context for this ambitious and sizeable sculpture is the legendary story of Emperor Cladius who arrived in Colchester in 43 AD with a herd of elephants. The image of the elephant is created through a series of overlapping projections of the deconstructed elephant with the full impression only seen from certain vantage points. The deconstructed parts of the elephant will be fixed to long poles, some up to 8 m tall. This form references traditional Roman standards; long poles with badges or flags attached to them which were symbols of honour in ancient Rome.

Structurally the aim was to create a simple structure which maintained the focus on the elephant sculpture but given its location was easy to install. The poles were therefore conceived as circular steel sections, the analysis of which focussed on the fatigue behaviour to allow minimum section widths to be selected, thus minimising the visual impact. 

The foundations were arguably more complicated given the location on a roundabout. A number of options were considered which aimed at making the installation as quick as possible whilst at the same time minimising the potential impact on the myriad of services running beneath the roundabout at shallow depths and keeping costs down. The eventual solution selected was a steel frame with prefabricated connection points for the poles and trays for weighing the sculpture down and preventing overturning. The overall width meant the maximum load on the ground was kept within acceptable limits.

Posted by:laursh