Fanfare sculpture

Case study .

Modifying a temporary sculpture to last 15 years.

How do you extend the design life of a system from 15 days to 15 years? This challenge put to our team for the Fanfare project.

Originally created with a 15-day design life (hung from the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the 2005 New Year celebrations), the Fanfare sculpture was gifted to Christchurch in 2005 by New Zealand artist Neil Dawson. Now destined to be an enduring public art piece, the design life needed to be extended to 15 years!

It is 20 metres in diameter, 24 metres high, weighing 25 tonnes and has 360 separate 1.5 metres wide wind-powered “pinwheels” covering its surface, so this was no small feat. The SCAPE Public Art Trust asked Holmes Solutions to review, develop and implement a fan design compliant with New Zealand loading standard (AS/NZS 1170) and able to withstand winds up to 180 km/h.

The existing fan hub and support shaft were proven unsuitable for the new challenge and fan noise was a serious concern. Our team redesigned the fan hub and support shaft, incorporating an eddy current brake to limit the fan’s rotational speed. We did extensive wind testing in our laboratory and we proved the new design was up to the task. Solving this challenge means the wonder of the Fanfare will now (safely) delight visitors to Christchurch for years to come.

Did you know?

  • Neil Dawson has produced many public sculptures throughout New Zealand, Australia, Asia and the UK. These include representing NZ at the Sydney Biennale in 1988, and at Magiciens de la Terre, Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris in 1989. Within NZ his major public works include Chalice in Cathedral Square, Christchurch, and Ferns in Civic Square, Wellington.
  • The highest wind speed ever recorded in New Zealand of 250km/h (155mph) was recorded on top of Mt John.
  • Fanfare is a bold, contemporary, large-scale sculpture with 360 rotating fans that will become Canterbury’s iconic visual connection to Christchurch city, located at Chaney’s Corner on Christchurch’s Northern Motorway.

To see all Case Studies, click here.