Quadralinear (2018)

Client: Littlehampton Welding Ltd
Artist: Lee Simmons
Location: London, UK

Date: 2018-09-01 00:00:00 +0000
Tags: art, stainless steel, computation

Quadralinear is a large scale civic installation by artist Lee Simmons which reflects the local London street map in the context of five curved and overlapping layers of laser cut stainless steel. The delicate structure is 15 metres tall and spans four storeys of the facade of a central London private clinic. The filigree steel sheets are only 5mm thick and are held together with the clamping force of 1200 stainless steel threaded rods and hollow sleeves. The benefit of compressing the lattice sheets together is that the structure can be idealised as a Vierendeel moment frame, the compression induced by tensioning the bolts counteracting the rotation at the joints.

We worked closely with the artist and the steelwork fabricator, Littlehampton Welding to refine the structure to its minimum, including reducing the number of bolts as far as possible and eliminating any ugly lap plates between the individual sheets within a single layer. The complex structural design calculations included evaluation of varying temperatures, locking in stresses and support settlements as well as the design and detailing of the supporting mild steel frame. We used a range of computational scripts to eliminate fixings in areas of low stress and/or high stress, then allowing the structure to re-distribute forces over a huge number of iterations. The result of the data driven analysis is a sparse structure where the bolts are clustered in a pattern reflecting a pure mechanical logic. Our rational thought process and our ability to design with large data sets also delivered a considerable cost saving for the Contractor as well as simplifying the construction methodology. In addition to the structural analysis and design we detailed the stainless steel sheet cutting patterns for Littlehampton Welding.

Photos 1,2 & 3 Lee Simmons