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Britain's Tallest Free-Standing Work of Public Art is Installed

NOTTINGHAM.- Rising 60 metres into the Nottingham skyline Aspire will stand three times taller than the 20 metre Angel of the North and over eight metres higher than the 51.6 metre Nelson's Column. The new landmark for the City of Nottingham was commissioned by the University as part of the institution's 60th anniversary celebrations of the granting of its Royal Charter.

Aspire will be the centrepiece of The University of Nottingham's Jubilee Campus which is breathing new life into a former industrial site in inner Nottingham.

The towering sculpture has been funded through the great generosity of a philanthropist who prefers to remain anonymous — but who wished to create an emblem which will make people think about their ambitions and where they aim to go in life.

Designed by Ken Shuttleworth's world-renowned Make Architects, Aspire has been approached as a natural extension of Make's work on the new buildings and landscaping which are currently under construction on the site.

The sculpture takes the form of a slender tubular steel lattice that springs from a concrete column at the base and increases in size from a diameter of 2.19m at the base to 4.85m at the apex. The tapered form allows the structure to sit lightly in the landscape and leads the eye upwards as it unfurls, while the latticework effect enhances the vertical emphasis and lends an appropriate lightness and transparency to the massive sculpture.

The delicate structure has been engineered for maximum strength and resilience, and is formed from hollow section steel tubes measuring 140mm in diameter. The lattice design efficiently transfers the considerable loads down to the ground while the aperture at the top is angled at 60 degrees to the north in order to minimise wind loads.

To harmonise with the terracotta-tiled cladding of the newly constructed Amenities Building and International House on Jubilee Campus Aspire has been painted red, subtly changing and lightening in tone as the structure rises.

Aspire, which will be lit during the hours of darkness, was described in it's early stages by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Colin Campbell, as having strength, elegance and real purpose.

Sir Colin Campbell said: “The generosity of an anonymous benefactor has given The University of Nottingham and the City of Nottingham an iconic and inspirational landmark.

"Aspire symbolises a vital aspect of the University. It sends a message to everyone that no matter where they come from, they can achieve great things. It celebrates our efforts to make the world a better place."

The cost of design, manufacture and installation of Aspire amounting to £800,000 has been paid for by the anonymous donation. The sculpture was named following a competition amongst The University of Nottingham's 6,500 staff and 36,000 students.

Ken Shuttleworth said: “Creating a sculptural form on this scale and for this setting has been a fascinating design challenge. We're also particularly pleased that it is the University's students and staff who have been responsible for actually naming the sculpture. These are the people who will experience the sculpture as part of their daily environment, and we hope that they will feel a real sense of ownership and pride in this striking new addition to the campus."

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