mcchesney architects: blaze installation
mcchesney architects: blaze installation mcchesney architects: blaze installation
dec 14, 2011

mcchesney architects: blaze installation

‘blaze’, an architectural sculpture designed by ian mcchesney image © peter cook

the work of british architect ian mcchesney, ‘blaze’ is an outdoor sculpture designed for installation along disparate segments of highway in middlesbrough, UK. the first construction phase of the project has seen a sculpture roughly 35-meters square and 4-meters tall erected along the A66 motorway.

‘blaze’ is composed of 472 staves of aluminum, positioned at successive angles to one another in four undulating curves. seen from different perspectives, the segments appear to create crosses and other gridded patterns, an effect enhanced by the fact that the staves are not fixed and rigid but instead shift slightly with the wind. the sculpture is composed of gold anodized aluminum, designed to catch the sunlight in unusual ways to add interest to the relatively desolate landscape.

‘we imagined a piece that could pop up and disappear as you drive [along]‘, mcchesney explains: ‘as if it were following you on your journey– like a kind of traveling companion, blazing through town.’

assembled over the course of 10 days, ‘blaze’ cost 116,000 pounds to fabricate and install: equivalent to the cost of building just 8-meters of new highway.

full view image © peter cook

the gold anodized aluminum staves are designed to catch sunlight in unusual ways image © peter cook

image © peter cook

detail on staves image © peter cook

image © peter cook

seen from different angles, the four ‘waves’ of segments create diverse patterns with one another image © peter cook

image © peter cook

image © peter cook

view looking head-on at one of the sections image © peter cook

‘blaze’ was the winning proposal in a 2007 competition held by the royal institute of british architects (RIBA), responding to the call by the middlesbrough borough council, tees valley arts, and arts council north east to develop a spatial design concept that integrates the cargo fleet roundabout traffic circle, with the possibility of being extended to other future sites.

the sculpture by sunset image © peter cook

construction: preparing the foundation image © chris brammall

construction: installing the staves image © chris brammall

construction: detail on base image © chris brammall

construction: the precise variance of angle at which each stave is placed required careful attention image © chris brammall

construction: welding image © chris brammall

concept diagram of full sculpture

construction plan, aerial view

short section plan

side elevation plan

video walkthrough of the project

project info:

contract duration: 9 months installation time: 10 days client: middlesbrough council funding: one northeast and the government’s local authority business growth incentive reward grant client advisors: tees valley arts and christian barnes of vista projects designer: ian mcchesney engineer: atelier one fabricator: chris brammall ltd

  • the concept drawings are very beautiful.
    the built reality less so.
    equivalent cost to 8 m of highway? or an eighth of an eighth of a bankers bonus

    nicey says:
  • An incredible scripture. says:
  • [url=]exactly the same concept[/url] was realized in 2010 in Helsinki by Kivi and Tuuli Sotamaa. Who was first?

    Julius says:
  • grow up.. who was first? Is it “identical” to the Helsinki installation? I doubt it.. was it inspired by it, possibly, in either case, no one can possibly own outright at best a “look’.

    check your head says:
  • really well done re meeting the constraints, proposed multiple installations, just simple, and nice.

    also the article says this won the competition in 2007 so between the helsinki project and this one it really would still be a _question_ of who was first. or not. we could just enjoy both, safe in the knowledge that sometimes the same nice ideas occur at the same time to different people in different places. 🙂

    mahala says:
  • kivi has the nicer floor, the nicer color lamellas and – most importantly -the nicer model

    michael says:
  • Stunning and a great video.

    [url=] Oomph [/url]

    Matt says:
  • roundabout art. nuf said.

    jacks says:

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