B of the Bang

Last updated
B of the Bang
B of the Bang (landscape).jpg
Artist Thomas Heatherwick
Year2005 (2005)–2009 (2009)
TypeMetal sculpture
Dimensions56 m(184 ft) [1]
Location Beswick, Manchester, England
Coordinates 53°28′55″N2°11′46″W / 53.48194°N 2.19611°W / 53.48194; -2.19611 Coordinates: 53°28′55″N2°11′46″W / 53.48194°N 2.19611°W / 53.48194; -2.19611

B of the Bang was a sculpture by Thomas Heatherwick next to the City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England, which was commissioned to mark the 2002 Commonwealth Games; it was one of the tallest structures in Manchester and the tallest sculpture in the UK until the completion of Aspire in 2008. It was taller and leaned at a greater angle than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The sculpture took its name from a quotation of British sprinter Linford Christie, in which he said that he started his races not merely at the "bang" of the starting pistol, but at "the B of the Bang".

Thomas Heatherwick English designer and architect

Thomas Alexander Heatherwick, CBE, RDI, HonFREng is an English designer and the founder of London-based design practice Heatherwick Studio. Since the late 1990s Heatherwick has emerged as one of Britain's most significant designers. Heatherwick works with a team of around 180 architects, designers and makers from a studio and workshop in King's Cross, London.

City of Manchester Stadium Home ground of Manchester City Football Club in England

The City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England, currently known as the Etihad Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is the home of Manchester City and, with a domestic football capacity of 55,097, the fifth-largest in the Premier League and tenth-largest in the United Kingdom.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous built-up area, with a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

Contents

The sculpture was commissioned in 2003; construction overran and the official unveiling was delayed until 12 January 2005. Six days before the launch, the sculpture suffered the first of three visible structural problems as the tip of one of the spikes detached and fell to the ground. Legal action started a year later, resulting in an out-of-court settlement totalling £1.7 million.

In February 2009, Manchester City Council announced that the sculpture would be dismantled and placed in storage. [2] Despite the promise of storage and potential reassembly, the core and legs of the sculpture were cut apart during removal. The core was sold for scrap in July 2012, with the 180 spikes reported to have been placed in storage for an undecided future use. [3] [4] [5]

Manchester City Council Local government body in England

Manchester City Council is the local government authority for Manchester, a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. It is composed of 96 councillors, three for each of the 32 electoral wards of Manchester. The council is controlled by the Labour Party and led by Sir Richard Leese. The opposition is formed by the Liberal Democrats and led by former Manchester Withington MP John Leech. Joanne Roney is the chief executive. Many of the council's staff are based at Manchester Town Hall.

Design and statistics

The completed B of the Bang. BoftheBang.jpg
The completed B of the Bang.

B of the Bang originally stood 56 metres (184 ft) tall [1] with 180 hollow tapered steel columns or spikes radiating from a central core. It was angled at 30 degrees [6] and supported by five 25 m (82 ft) long, tapered steel legs [7] [8] which connected to the spikes 22 m (72 ft) above the ground. The sculpture weighed 165 tonnes, [9] with the concrete in the foundations weighing over 1,000 tonnes, [10] including a 400 m2 (4,300 sq ft) reinforced concrete slab. [11] The foundations are 20 m (66 ft) deep. [10]

The sculpture was made from the same weathering steel (also known as Cor-Ten) as the Angel of the North sculpture, which gradually develops a tightly adhering oxide layer as it is exposed to the elements. This layer inhibits further corrosion by reducing its permeability to water. As part of the design, the spikes swayed slightly in the wind [12] in order to withstand gusts in excess of 100 mph (160 km/h). [10] At the time of construction a time capsule was placed in one of the spikes of the sculpture, containing children's poems and paintings, due to be opened circa 2300. [13] The location of the time capsule after dismantling is currently unknown.

Weathering steel steel alloy forming a rust-look finish when exposed to weather

Weathering steel, often referred to by the genericized trademark COR-TEN steel and sometimes written without the hyphen as corten steel, is a group of steel alloys which were developed to eliminate the need for painting, and form a stable rust-like appearance after several years exposure to weather.

<i>Angel of the North</i> sculpture, designed by Antony Gormley

The Angel of the North is a contemporary sculpture, designed by Antony Gormley, located in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England.

Oxide chemical compound with at least one oxygen atom

An oxide is a chemical compound that contains at least one oxygen atom and one other element in its chemical formula. "Oxide" itself is the dianion of oxygen, an O2– atom. Metal oxides thus typically contain an anion of oxygen in the oxidation state of −2. Most of the Earth's crust consists of solid oxides, the result of elements being oxidized by the oxygen in air or in water. Hydrocarbon combustion affords the two principal carbon oxides: carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Even materials considered pure elements often develop an oxide coating. For example, aluminium foil develops a thin skin of Al2O3 (called a passivation layer) that protects the foil from further corrosion. Individual elements can often form multiple oxides, each containing different amounts of the element and oxygen. In some cases these are distinguished by specifying the number of atoms as in carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, and in other cases by specifying the element's oxidation number, as in iron(II) oxide and iron(III) oxide. Certain elements can form many different oxides, such as those of nitrogen.

B of the Bang was located next to the City of Manchester Stadium at Sportcity, in Beswick, at the corner of Alan Turing Way and Ashton New Road;. [14] [15] It took its name from a quotation of British sprinter Linford Christie in which he said that he started his races not merely at the 'bang' of the starting pistol, but at 'The B of the Bang'. [7] The artwork had been nicknamed KerPlunk by the locals after the popular children's game from the 1970s. [1]

Sportcity

Sportcity in Manchester was used to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games. It is in east Manchester, a mile from Manchester city centre, and was developed on former industrial land including the site of Bradford Colliery.

Sprint (running) running over a short distance in a limited period of time

Sprinting is running over a short distance in a limited period of time. It is used in many sports that incorporate running, typically as a way of quickly reaching a target or goal, or avoiding or catching an opponent. Human physiology dictates that a runner's near-top speed cannot be maintained for more than 30–35 seconds due to the depletion of phosphocreatine stores in muscles, and perhaps secondarily to excessive metabolic acidosis as a result of anaerobic glycolysis.

Linford Christie English athlete, Olympic medalist

Linford Cicero Christie is a Jamaican-born British former sprinter. He is the only British man to have won gold medals in the 100 metres at all four major competitions open to British athletes: the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games. He was the first European to break the 10-second barrier in the 100 m and still holds the British record in the event. He is a former world indoor record holder over 200 metres, and a former European record holder in the 60 metres, 100 m and 4 × 100 metres relay. His career was overshadowed after a ban for use of nandrolone in 1999.

Prior to the construction of Aspire at the University of Nottingham, B of the Bang was Britain's tallest sculpture at well over twice the height of the Angel of the North, [15] which stands at 66 feet (20 m). It was designed to look like an exploding firework [1] and was taller and leaned at a greater angle than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. [7] It was commissioned by New East Manchester Limited to commemorate the 2002 Commonwealth Games. [6] The design was selected by a panel consisting of both local residents and art experts via a competition in 2002 [12] and was designed by Thomas Heatherwick. [14]

<i>Aspire</i> (sculpture) sculpture by Ken Shuttleworth

Aspire is a work of art, constructed on the Jubilee Campus of the University of Nottingham, in Nottingham, England. It is a 60-metre tall, red and orange steel sculpture, and was, until overtaken by Anish Kapoor's Orbit, the tallest free standing public work of art in the United Kingdom, taller than B of the Bang; Nelson's Column, the Angel of the North. It is also taller, excluding the pedestal, than the Statue of Liberty. Designed by Ken Shuttleworth and Make Architects, it comprises an 8m high concrete foundation and 52m high red and orange steel tower. The sculpture weighs 854 tonnes, and cost £800,000, which was donated by an anonymous benefactor. The name Aspire was chosen after a competition to name the sculpture, which was open to staff and students at the university.

University of Nottingham university based in Nottingham, England

The University of Nottingham is a public research university in Nottingham, United Kingdom. It was founded as University College Nottingham in 1881, and was granted a royal charter in 1948.

Leaning Tower of Pisa famous tower in Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa or simply the Tower of Pisa is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its nearly four-degree lean, the result of an unstable foundation. The tower is situated behind the Pisa Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in the city's Cathedral Square, after the cathedral and the Pisa Baptistry.

Construction and funding

B of the Bang under construction. B of the Bang - geograph.org.uk - 822904.jpg
B of the Bang under construction.

The sculpture was constructed in Sheffield [6] by Thomas Heatherwick Studio, Packman Lucas, Flint and Neill and Westbury Structures. [16] It was approved at the start of 2003, [14] with the central core arriving in Manchester on 13 June 2004. [6] This was the largest load that could be transferred via road from the factory, and required a police escort. [10] This central core was lifted into place in August 2004, after which the 180 spikes could begin being attached. Early estimates had given an optimistic completion date of July 2003, which contributed to the sculpture gaining the nickname G of the Bang. [15]

The official unveiling by Linford Christie took place on 12 January 2005. [1]

In total the sculpture cost £1.42 million to design and construct [11] — twice the original estimate, [15] as the initial costing had neglected to include installation costs. [17] Funding was sourced from a European Regional Development Fund contribution of £700,000, the North West Development Agency, contributing £500,000, and Manchester City Council providing £120,000. [18]

Dismantling the B of the Bang. Dismantling a Landmark - geograph.org.uk - 1309321.jpg
Dismantling the B of the Bang.

The tip of one of the 2.1 m (6.9 ft) spikes detached and fell from the sculpture on 6 January 2005, only six days before the official unveiling. [19] After inspection, the event went ahead as planned.

Four months later, in May 2005, a second spike had to be cut off by firefighters after it was discovered hanging loose. [20] At that time the sculpture was closed off to the public, and the junction and pathway near the sculpture were temporarily closed. As a result, some of the joints were re-welded, with equipment put in place to prevent excessive movement. [21] This consisted of retrofitting tip weights to 70% of the spikes' weights. [22]

Despite these modifications, B of the Bang remained fenced off, prompting a local newspaper campaign to 'Get It Sorted'. [22] In May 2006 a total of nine spikes were removed from the sculpture and taken away for metallurgical analysis, to discover the stresses being placed on the steel. [23]

It was announced in October 2007 that Manchester City Council were taking legal action against the makers of the sculpture, with the aim of completing the necessary repairs to the sculpture. [16] In November 2008 this culminated in an out-of-court settlement being reached between Manchester City Council, the project's designers Thomas Heatherwick Studio Ltd, and the engineering and construction subcontractors Packman Lucas Ltd, Flint and Neill Partnership and Westbury Structures Ltd. The agreement was to pay the council £1.7m in damages for breach of contract and negligence. [24]

Dismantling

The core of B of the Bang is visible again during deconstruction in July 2009 B of the Bang during deconstruction.jpg
The core of B of the Bang is visible again during deconstruction in July 2009

Acting on a report in January 2009, [25] the city council recommended that B of the Bang should be dismantled and placed in storage until funds could be raised for its safe reinstatement. [26] [27] The report recognised the sculpture's aesthetic value for Manchester and Manchester City Council committed itself to working with the artist to reach a long-term solution. One possibility involved the replacement of the steel spikes with alternatives made from carbon fibre, although the report underlined the necessity for extensive testing. [28]

In January 2009, Antony Gormley, creator of the Angel of the North —to which B of the Bang is often compared—spoke out in support of the sculpture, stating that, "It is a great tribute to Manchester that this ground-breaking work was commissioned. To allow it to disappear would be a loss not just of an inspirational artwork but also of the council's nerve." [29]

Despite Gormley's plea, removal of B of the Bang began in April 2009. [30] More substantial hoarding was erected around the site and demolition firm Connell Brothers Limited began removing the spikes with oxyacetylene cutting equipment. [31]

Although the council had promised to store the complex central core and legs, [27] these too were cut apart during removal, [4] casting doubt on future prospects for the landmark sculpture's return, and in early July 2012 the core was sold as scrap for £17,000. [5]

Related Research Articles

Ferris wheel amusement ride

A Ferris wheel is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating upright wheel with multiple passenger-carrying components attached to the rim in such a way that as the wheel turns, they are kept upright, usually by gravity. Some of the largest modern Ferris wheels have cars mounted on the outside of the rim, with electric motors to independently rotate each car to keep it upright. These wheels are sometimes referred to as observation wheels and their cars referred to as capsules, however these alternative names are also used for wheels with conventional gravity-oriented cars.

Antony Gormley British sculptor

Sir Antony Mark David Gormley,, is a British sculptor. His best known works include the Angel of the North, a public sculpture in Gateshead in the North of England, commissioned in 1994 and erected in February 1998, Another Place on Crosby Beach near Liverpool, and Event Horizon, a multi-part site installation which premiered in London in 2007, around Madison Square in New York City, in 2010, in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2012, and in Hong Kong in 2015–16.

The Shard skyscraper in London, England

The Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower, is a 95-storey supertall skyscraper, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, in Southwark, London, that forms part of the Shard Quarter development. Standing 309.7 metres (1,016 ft) high, the Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, the tallest building in the European Union, and the fifth-tallest building in Europe. It is also the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower of the Emley Moor transmitting station. It replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built on the site in 1975.

Burj Khalifa Skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Burj Khalifa, known as the Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration in 2010, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. With a total height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft) and a roof height of 828 m (2,717 ft), the Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure and building in the world since its topping out in 2009.

Bradford, Manchester human settlement in Manchester, United Kingdom

Bradford is a district and until 2018 was an electoral ward in Manchester, England, two miles north east of the city centre. The population at the 2011 census was 15,784. Historically in Lancashire, after the closure of its heavy industries Bradford was for many years an economically deprived area but has undergone regeneration with the building of the City of Manchester Stadium which hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games and is now home to Manchester City F.C.. Bradford is neighboured by Beswick to the south and the two areas are sometimes referred to as Bradford-with-Beswick. The River Medlock and the Ashton Canal run through Bradford.

Beetham Tower, Manchester skyscraper in Manchester, England

Beetham Tower is a landmark 47-storey mixed use skyscraper in Manchester, England. Completed in 2006, it is named after its developers, the Beetham Organisation, and was designed by SimpsonHaugh and Partners. The development occupies a sliver of land at the top of Deansgate, hence its elongated plan, and was proposed in July 2003, with construction starting a year later.

Deansgate Square

Deansgate Square, formerly known as Owen Street, is a skyscraper cluster development currently under construction on the southern edge of Manchester City Centre, consisting of four skyscrapers, the highest will be 201 metres tall when completed. The site is just south of Deansgate railway station and north of the Mancunian Way, bounded by Old Deansgate, Pond Street, Owen Street and the River Medlock. Manchester City Council adopted a framework in the early 2000s, known as the Great Jackson Street Development Framework, which earmarked the site as an acceptable location for high-rise buildings. The framework was enacted to encourage building development as the site had been vacant for many years and was perceived to be isolated as it was bounded by major arterial roads.

White Horse at Ebbsfleet sculpture by Mark Wallinger

The White Horse at Ebbsfleet, formerly the Ebbsfleet Landmark, colloquially the Angel of the South, was a planned white horse statue to be built in the Ebbsfleet Valley in Kent, England. Designed by Mark Wallinger to faithfully resemble a thoroughbred horse, but at 33 times life size, the colossal sculpture was to be 50 metres (160 ft) high.

ArcelorMittal <i>Orbit</i> sculpture and observation tower in the Olympic Park in Stratford, London

The ArcelorMittal Orbit is a 114.5-metre-high sculpture and observation tower in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London. It is Britain's largest piece of public art, and is intended to be a permanent lasting legacy of London's hosting of the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, assisting in the post-Olympics regeneration of the Stratford area. Sited between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre, it allows visitors to view the whole Olympic Park from two observation platforms.

Wheel of Manchester

The Wheel of Manchester was a transportable Ferris wheel installation at Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, England. The wheel was originally a smaller installation based in Exchange Square, first assembled in 2004. The wheel's size was increased to 60 metres (197 ft) in 2007, and plans existed to increase this further. However, these plans were never submitted. The wheel was dismantled in 2012 to make way for 2012 Olympics celebrations and Metrolink construction work. In 2013, a new 52.7-metre (173 ft) wheel was installed in Piccadilly Gardens. It was dismantled in June 2015.

Events from 2005 in England

2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics cauldron

The 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics cauldron was used for the Olympic flame during the Summer Olympics and Paralympics of London 2012. The cauldron was designed by Thomas Heatherwick and described as "one of the best-kept secrets of the opening ceremony": until it was lit during the Olympics ceremony, neither its design and location, nor who would light it, had been revealed. For the Olympics it consisted of 204 individual 'petals', and for the Paralympics 164, one for each competing nation.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "'Bang' sculpture goes on display". BBC News. 12 January 2005. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  2. "'Bang' sculpture to be taken down". BBC News. 11 February 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  3. "B of the Bye-Bye". The Architects' Journal. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  4. 1 2 "Last Legs". This Is East. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  5. 1 2 "Manchester B of the Bang sculpture core sold for scrap". BBC News. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "'Bang' sculpture arrives in city". BBC News. 13 June 2004. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  7. 1 2 3 "'Bang' sculpture put into place". BBC News. 5 August 2004. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  8. "B of the Bang — Official site". Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  9. "B of the Bang — official site — FAQ — How heavy?". Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  10. 1 2 3 4 "B of the Bang: Engineering". Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  11. 1 2 Keller, Sinéad (12 January 2005). "A whole lot of B for the Bang". The Guardian . London. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  12. 1 2 "It cost £1.4m — but it's going to go rusty". Manchester Evening News . 6 June 2004. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  13. "I've seen the B of the Bang sculpture". CBBC Newsround. 12 January 2005. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  14. 1 2 3 "Plans for tallest sculpture approved". BBC News. 24 January 2003. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  15. 1 2 3 4 Osuh, Chris (12 November 2004). "Now it's G of the Bang". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  16. Keegan, Mike (24 October 2007). "B of the botch". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  17. "Designer of 'death trap' sculpture B of the Bang to pay back £1.7m of taxpayers' money after council sues". Daily Mail. London. 18 November 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  18. "'Bang' sculpture spike falls off". BBC News. 6 January 2005. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  19. "'Bang' sculpture in fresh scare". BBC News. 20 May 2005. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  20. "'Bang' sculpture in safety scare". BBC News. 7 March 2005. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  21. 1 2 "Works begins on B of the Bang – at last". Manchester Evening News. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  22. "Spikes taken off Bang sculpture". BBC News. 15 May 2006. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  23. Manchester City Council Executive (11 February 2009). "Manchester City Council Report for Resolution" (PDF). Manchester City Council. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  24. "Heatherwick's Bang to be put into storage". BD. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  25. 1 2 Jenkins, Russell (4 August 2009). "It began with a Bang but landmark sculpture is sent for recycling". The Times . London. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  26. "City's B of the Bang may be saved". BBC News. 4 February 2009. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  27. "Gormley's plea on 'bang' landmark". BBC News. 22 January 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  28. "Work starts on Bang dismantling". BBC. 15 April 2009. Archived from the original on 18 April 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
  29. "Sparks and Spikes". This Is East. 11 June 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009.