Giant wind turbine art work opens in Hull as part of wider celebrations

09 February 2017 3 min. read
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The UK City of Culture initiative has moved to Hull, which recently celebrated its opening. As part of wider cultural exhibitions, an art work by artist Nayan Kulkarni was unveiled in the city's centre – a 75 meter-long wind turbine. The work was installed in the city's centre with the support of Arup. The work is fitting, as Hull recently got word that Siemens will invest £310 million in the city to build a manufacturing plant for wind turbines.

The UK City of Culture is a designation given to a city in the UK, administered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to help boost its profile. The initiative was formed in 2009, to allow cities across the UK build on the success of Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture 2008, which had significant social and economic benefits for the area. The initiative, which was earlier this year opened by fireworks, has seen Hull create a range of cultural and artistically oriented events across the city. Policy makers have invested around £30 million into the event, which includes a £25 million investment to revamp the centre of the city.

One of the artistic projects unveiled in the city is a 75 metre rotor blade from a windmill. The work, which was created by multimedia artist Nayan Kulkarni, weighs 28 tonnes and is the world’s largest handmade fibre glass component cast as a single object. The work is designed in such a way as to tilt to catch the wind, by which it moves slightly while remaining well fastened.

Hull City Council, ARUP, UK City Of Culture

Specialist consultancy Arup – working closely with Hull City Council – supported the installation of the work in the centre of Hull with project management, transport planning and structural engineering services. The work itself was manufactured by Siemens, which recently announced that it will be investing £310 million in the city to build a manufacturing plant for offshore wind turbines, creating around 1,000 jobs.

The delivery of the work itself involved moving the turbine through the city’s, narrow, centre streets – for which over 50 street lights, traffic control signalling, pedestrian guard railings and other street furniture needed to be relocated to allow for the move. The project was carried out at night to surprise the city’s residents with the installation.

Richard Bickers, a Project Director at Arup, says, “Blade is not only a dramatic artistic installation, but in terms of its transportation and exhibition, also a significant engineering feat. Over 50 items of street furniture, including traffic lights and lamp posts had to be temporarily removed to allow safe passage of this massive object. Part of the magic of the installation is people wondering how it got there – it’s a bit like a ship in a bottle.”

Arup’s involvement with the city includes a £20 million transformation of the pedestrianised areas of the city centre including.