Forell | Elsesser has provided structural engineering services for several sculptures and monuments throughout the United States.


Customized Solution


Cloud Gate –  Forell | Elsesser provided structural analysis to assist with the design of this unique 60’x30’x40’ stainless steel “bean” shaped sculpture which was designed as the focal point for Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois. The sculpture was built from milled stainless steel panels welded together and ground smooth for a seamless, reflective finish. Design parameters included the development of flexible mountings between the stainless steel shell and the internal steel frame to accommodate thermal expansion/contraction, support, and transportation deflections without warping or denting the smooth sculpture.  Forell | Elsesser provided structural analysis to assist with the design of the internal supporting frame for the staged construction as well as the final support.


Beginnings –  Forell | Elsesser provided structural engineering services for this 40-foot tall steel sculpture. The sculpture was designed for use during graduation ceremonies and was featured during Michelle Obama’s commencement address to UC Merced’s first graduation class in May 2009. The sculpture consists of two gently curving, vertical stainless steel arms rising from a large circular base. The burnished stainless-steel sculpture is located in the central courtyard of the University of California, Merced.  Stainless steel skin is supported internally by a robust structural steel framework that is anchored to a reinforced concrete mat foundation.


The Spirit of Alamilla Spring –  Forell | Elsesser provided a structural evaluation study on a Everdur C83700 Copper Casting Alloy sculpture designed by artist and sculptor Todji Kurtzman. The sculpture will be placed at the entrance of the new Emerald Glen Recreation and Aquatic Complex in Dublin, California.

A detailed model was built using the general-purpose finite element package Abaqus, CAE.  The model was run in Abaqus Standard. Abaqus is selected for this study due to its strength in modeling complex geometries and its solver capability in efficiently handling and solving a large set of equations.

The analysis helped to evaluate the strength of the sculpture’s skin to resist the design loads. Through iterative analysis, the sculptor geometry and the skin thickness is optimized such that the sculpture can effectively and safely resist the anticipated gravity and lateral loads per the requirements of the building codes and using the site-specific seismic design parameters from the USGS website.  In the structural analysis of the sculpture, 12 different seismic load cases from ASCE7-10 were considered.


(The Spirit of Alamilla Spring video)


The Dance of Life – A 12-foot tall brushed stainless steel sculpture to be permanently displayed in the center of the main lobby area in the new Sansum Ridley-Tree Cancer Clinic in Santa Barbara, California. Five dancer figures are joined at their fingertips in a three-dimensional arc, with the two upright supporting dancers standing on a cylindrical stainless steel drum. The sculpture is the creation of Santa Barbara artist Aris Demetrios. The engineering design by  Forell | Elsesser Engineers strived to optimize the thickness and overall weight of the stainless plate by using internal stiffening elements and solid fingertip connector elements at the points of highest stress. The sculpture and base were analyzed using a detailed finite element analysis and were proportioned to withstand the effects of a maximum-level earthquake. The base drum assembly is invisibly anchored firmly to the floor structure to ensure the seismic stability of the sculpture. The sculpture installation was unveiled at the Clinic Grand Opening in September 2017.


(Dance of Life video)