ALE moves turbine blade for City of Culture
By Ian Vallely24 January 2017
ALE has transported a Siemens wind turbine blade, measuring 75 metres long, as part of the Hull UK City of Culture programme.
The company transported the blade under the cover of darkness on self propelled modular transporter (SPMT) and bolsters from Siemens’ production facility, 3.5 miles (5.7 km) away, through winding streets of the city of Hull to Queen Victoria Square.
Once in position, it was mounted on specially-constructed supports. At the highest point it was 5.5 metres from the ground - allowing double-decker buses to pass under the tip of the blade. It is believed to be the first time such a huge industrial structure has been manoeuvred into a city centre to be displayed as a temporary art installation.
The installation is part of its contribution to the cultural and artistic programme. This was instrumental for the artwork, ‘Blade’ by multi-media artist Nayan Kulkarni, who reinterpreted the blade as a monumental sculpture installed across the historic Queen Victoria Square.
This jaw-dropping contemporary art installation is the first artwork in Look Up, a year-long series of artist interventions in public spaces commissioned by Hull UK City of Culture 2017, which aim to make people look at and experience the city in new ways.
The artist, Nayan Kulkarni, said, “By declaring the blade to be a work of art, we’re changing it. It’s no longer a functional object – it does other things and has different values. As both a turbine blade and a ready-made sculptural work of art it is beautiful.
“I think the project is extraordinary. It’s an astonishing challenge to move something of this size into the city centre.”
The blade was applauded into the city centre by a welcoming party of 200 workers from the Siemens factory, reflecting the pride of the workforce that the product they create will be seen by tens of thousands of local people and visitors to the city.
Siemens UK chief executive Juergen Maier said, “We’re hugely excited to have worked with Nayan Kulkarni and the City of Culture team on this dramatic, unique installation.
“This collaboration reflects our desire to make a positive impact as a Hull UK City of Culture 2017 major partner. ‘Blade’ brings to life the engineering and manufacturing excellence of which we are so proud and makes it tangible for the people of Hull and visitors to the city.”
Moving and installing the blade has involved more than a year of planning, also involving Hull City Council, project consulting engineer Arup and the Police.
Dave Smith, ALE projects operational manager, said, “This was a unique challenge. We have never before moved a structure of this size into a city centre along such narrow streets.
“We’re delighted to have been entrusted by Siemens to take the blade on its journey into the city centre and to have lifted it into position where it will take pride of place during the City of Culture celebrations.”
The blade stays in Queen Victoria Square until 18 March.