Belfast may have the needle in the cathedral, and whether it’s courageous or hideous will remain a matter of personal opinion, but Dublin has set course for something that sounds really courageous and innovative and exciting. Sculptor Antony Gormley, previously mentioned in connection with another project [and how is that project progressing? – Ed], has been chosen from a shortlist of six by Dublin Docklands Development Authority to develop his proposal for a sculpture “two-thirds the height of Liberty Hall” (48 metres)[subs req], likely to be “located in the river Liffey close to the Seán O’Casey footbridge.” [pdf file]
From the Irish Times report
Mr Gormley said: “The work will allude to the human body as a dynamic interconnected matrix evoking the collective body, which is in itself in dynamic relation to the movement of people in the street and across the new Seán O’Casey Bridge.”
The sculpture is expected to use previously unused construction techniques to build the 48-metre-high structure and carry its weight.
According to the authority, the work will be “a signpost for the realignment of Dublin’s epicentre eastwards”. In other words, they want to move the “city centre” to the docklands, as a symbol of the development and the large numbers of people moving in to the area. The sculpture “will read as a drawing against the changing light of the sky, within an area of Dublin that has low-rise buildings on both sides of the river”.
From the DDDA press release
Paul Maloney, Chief Executive of the Docklands Authority, said that the announcement comes at an important time in the Docklands project. “The delivery of the Docklands Arts Strategy is now well on its way with the appointment of Antony Gormley for this sculptural commission, closely following the commencement on site of the new Grand Canal Theatre and the commitment of a site for our national theatre, the Abbey at George’s Dock.”
The Docklands Authority plans to lodge a planning application for the work before the end of the year. Subject to planning permission, construction is likely to start during 2008 and, once on site, the work will take approximately eight months to build and will cost in the region of €1.6 million.
A Dublin-based contractor capable of delivering this imaginative and ground breaking work is yet to be appointed. Antony Gormley and Arup Engineers are actively searching at this time for the necessary construction skills and technologies to enable them to deliver the project.