Oclyte™ columns support wind sculpture

Ten years and $750,000 later, Wellington's Meridian wind sculpture series is finally complete. Phil Dadson's “Akau Tangi” has been unveiled on Cobham Dr, Evans Bay, taking its place alongside the four other pieces in the series.

Akau Tangi consists of ten, striped, 16-sided steel columns, manufactured by CSP and other suppliers, each supporting a conical-shaped, colour co-ordinated, kinetic sculptural element which positions itself according to the wind direction. Harmonic whistle tones are produced from each of the ten sculptures by wind-driven flutes at the cowl end of each form. Lighting for the sculpture is provided by an LED lighting system, the power is also wind generated and is incorporated within each conical form.

The name “Akau Tangi” was the original Maori name given to Evans Bay and refers to the lamenting sounds of wind in the bay.

“We first began discussions with Phil back in 2006 when he was developing his design and wanted to know if the concept was practical,” said Katalin Csikasz, Engineering and Pole Product Manager for CSP. “We assured him it was and over the next few years we worked with Phil and several other parties to coordinate this project.”

“It began as a commission from the Wellington Sculpture Trust and was a process that took three years before the contract was finally awarded,” says Phil Dadson, Sculptor. “I wanted Akau Tangi to convey the effect of a migration to or from the sea with a sentinel or bird-like reference, plus it also has associations with wind-socks due to its proximity to the airport.”

After several prototypes developed in collaboration with Consolidated Engineering Company Ltd testing of the final form was undertaken at Pukekohe raceway to simulate the stresses and strains the cones would be subjected to in the harbour. Evans Bay is reputed to be one of the windiest locations in the country.

“Right from the outset we knew that the columns were to be installed in and near the sea on the Wellington waterfront, which is a very harsh environment,” says Katalin. “To manufacture the columns in stainless steel was not financially viable so a more cost effective solution with the required durability properties was investigated. We consulted Les Boulton & Associates Ltd, who is a renowned expert in corrosion control to find the right solution.”

CSP manufactured the 16-sided steel Oclyte™ columns in one fully enclosed piece, except for two small openings which were used to hot dip galvanise the columns inside and out. Once the galvanising was complete the openings were welded closed entirely sealing the inside of the columns.

To ensure the best protection for the columns CSP used Oclyte Tuff Coat™ a 100% solids, high build polyurethane elastomer coating specifically engineered to add corrosion protection to galvanised columns, to completely coat the two columns fully installed in the sea and the base of the columns not submerged in water.

Phil explains, “to be honest I looked at a lot of pole options but the steel option was the best suited to the volatile seaside location. CSP’s experience, competence and knowledge with engineered columns meant I had no reservations in working with them. Katalin was my main contact and was very good to work with. The result is very satisfying.”

“I had the pleasure to be present at the official opening of Akau Tangi. While in Wellington I took the opportunity to visit the finished sculpture during the day and at night. I was blown away with the night appearance of the moving art,” said Katalin. “CSP is proud to be associated with this project.”

Commissioner:Wellington Sculpture Trust / Meridian Energy
Artist:Phil Dadson
Location:Wellington waterfront
Product:16 sided Oclyte™ columns
DateJune 2010

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