Angel of the North
The Angel of the North is a modern public art sculpture located near Gateshead, England. It is an all-steel sculpture of an angel with outstretched wings, located on a hill overlooking the A1 and A167 roads into Tyneside. The artist Antony Gormley designed the sculpture which was majority funded by the National Lottery.
Gormley’s concept was to symbolise the past history of coal mining at the site, and the evolving hopes and fears as the industrial age evolved into the information age and beyond. He created the 3D design model of the sculpture by scanning his own body using innovative geomatics and plotting coordinates to create a virtual ‘angel’.
The structure is 20 m (66 ft) tall, with wings measuring 54 m (177 ft) across. The wings are angled forwards at 3.5-degrees, creating ‘a sense of embrace’.
Because it is located on an exposed hill, the sculpture was built to withstand wind speeds of over 100 mph (160 km/h). This was achieved by the inclusion of expressed steel ribs which help transmit wind loads to the foundations. The foundations themselves are formed by 600 tonnes of concrete, strengthened by 52 steel bolts 3 m long. Together with the concrete piles, these anchor the structure to rock 21 m (70 ft) below.
Work began on the project in 1994 at Hartlepool Steel Fabrications Ltd. using COR-TEN weather-resistant steel. The body, weighing 100 tonnes, and the two wings, each weighing 50 tonnes, were built separately and transported to the site for assembly.
The sculpture was unveiled in February 1998, having cost £800,000. Initially, the project provoked controversy in the media and with local councils, however, it has since come to be seen as a landmark and an iconic symbol of Tyneside. It is visited by more than 150,000 people a year, and is seen by up to 90,000 people a day as they pass by road or rail.
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