Sculpture by local artist to be installed at engineering building

Jamie Yuccas

A 31-foot stainless steel sculpture called “Platonic Figure” is to be installed in front of the Mechanical Engineering Building on the East Bank campus.

The figure, designed by local artist Andrew Leicester, is scheduled to be completed by July 15.

Leicester interviewed faculty and staff before beginning the project.

“We’re all very thrilled with the design,” said Peter McMurry, head of the department of mechanical engineering.

Leicester has created designs from New York to Cincinnati to Los Angeles. Some of his local works are on display at the Minnesota History Center and Wells Fargo Bank of Rochester.

Faculty and staff of the Mechanical Engineering Building claim the sculpture looks like a tin man. The torso and limbs are created with conical forms, while the head resembles a helmet.

“The conical sections that make up the arms, legs and body of the figure appeal to me,” McMurry said. “I feel the stainless steel duct-work is an integral part of the architect’s design for the atrium of our new building.”

The “Platonic Figure” project is funded by the University’s Public Art on Campus Program. The program was established in 1988 to commission and purchase artwork for public spaces at the University. Its collection has grown to include more than 40 permanent works on the Twin Cities campuses.

The program was founded after the state passed legislation requiring 1 percent of development costs go toward artwork at state-funded buildings.

The sculpture is something of a finishing touch for the new Mechanical Engineering Building, which opened its doors April 25.

“We worked really hard on getting 10 million (dollars) from private sources besides the 13 million (dollars) from the state to build the new building,” McMurry said.

“It’s been about a 15-year process and something we’re thrilled to have. Having the new building will help us remain a top department at the University,” he added.

 

Jamie Yuccas welcomes comments at [email protected]