As part of the Westlink road works, Broadway roundabout was to get a 45m tall flower erected in the middle of it. Ed Carpenter won a Belfast City Council-led commissioning competition with his expression of a post-troubles city.
“Trillian rises over Broadway Roundabout, marking the southern entrance to Belfast, offering a symbol of transformation. Its gesture is bold and delicate, engineered and organic, familiar and extraordinary. The delicacy of nature and the strength of human resolve are suggested in graceful lines and robust steel. Trillian reaches upward toward the light.
Perched and leaning, it suggests life in the balance. This sense of precariousness is only symbolic, however, as myriad armored cables insure great structural integrity and redundancy. At night Trillian forms a luminous beacon in the sky, visible for miles. Rainy skies are penetrated by beams of light extending up into the mists, further heightening the presence of the sculpture.”
Problem was that the price of steel forced a rethink, and a fresh competition.
But now the replacement public art has been delayed by six months.
“Rise” is expected to stand 35m high, and will feature LED lighting allowing “the sculpture to glow and pulse at night”.
Talking in the Nottingham Evening Post, artist Wolfgang Buttress explained why work on the £400,000 design - “Rise” - has been pushed back to the spring while his design was finalised and contractors were found. And there’s “the Northern Ireland Government’s [DRD Roads Service] annual two-month ban on roadworks over the festive period” ...
“We had a short time scale. The work had to be done over the summer while there is good weather. The start, however, was delayed and if it had got any later in the year we would have meant we were getting into winter, so it seemed a sensible decision to delay it until next spring.”
“There are about 7,500 struts of different lengths that have to be manufactured, as well as 2,000 pressed discs that the struts go into. We need to make the jig that it will all sit in before we can then think about the main construction process. The sculpture is simple, but because it is 35m high it needs to be done accurately.”
Local wags are already nicknaming the sculpture “Balls on the Falls” ...
So while the road opened ahead of time (and celebrated with an early bath!), the public art on top of the roundabout is going to be late.