Strand7:  Case Studies:  Olympic Sculptures

Analysis of AMP olympic sculptures

What are the Olympic sculptures?

AMP, sponsors of the 2000 Olympic Games, commissioned the design, construction and installation of three Olympic sculptures for the turret of AMP Tower. The three sculptures represent athletes, gymnasts and paralympians, and were designed by the sculptor Dominique Sutton. Structural engineers for the project were Hyder Consulting.



Construction

The three sculptures were fabricated from flat plate mild steel and standard beam sections. The largest figure, The Sprinter, is 15 metres high and weighs over four and a half tonnes. The hoops which form the definition of the figures were plasma-cut from single sheets of plating, to increase the overall strength of the structure.



Loads

The dominant loading on the sculptures is wind loading. Each sculpture was designed to withstand a fifty-year wind. Dedicated wind tunnel tests were carried out at the University of Sydney using scaled models.


Linear analysis

Strand7 was used to analyse The Sprinter. Using linear static analysis, member loads were accurately determined. This data formed a basis for the preliminary sizing of structural members.

Non-linear analysis

The non-linear static solver was used to simulate the progressive development of plastic hinges as The Sprinter sculpture was loaded above its design load. This type of analysis gives information about the structure's ultimate load-carrying capacity.



Installation

Each figure was airlifted by helicopter onto the turret of AMP Tower --- making weight a key design factor. The analysis provided a loading envelope for each member section. This allowed the designers to optimise members, reducing the overall mass of each structure.