Campus: CSU Chico -- March 06, 2002
First Steel Sculpture in California Installed at California
State University, Chico
It's called a steel sculpture, but is it art? The 8-foot tall steel
structure is located between the Langdon Engineering Center and the
O'Connell Technology Center on the California State University, Chico
"That's one of the most common questions we get. It's actually
an educational display, showing the different ways that steel can be
shaped and connected to create a structural system, such as a building
or a bridge," said CSU, Chico civil engineering professor Russell
"Previously, engineering students had few opportunities to view
the means of their profession, since structural components are usually
hidden behind walls and cladding. Short of knocking a hole in a wall,
something the university discourages, it's usually impossible for students
to see first-hand the internal workings of a building," said Mills,
the coordinator of the installation.
Since its dedication at a campus engineer's day celebration on Feb.
22, the sculpture has been a source of interest and discussion by engineering
and non-engineering students alike. Due to the sculpture's central location,
professors walking to and from classes are constantly bombarded with
welcome questions. Of particular interest are portions of the sculpture
demonstrating earthquake-resistant detailing (called "dog-bones")
developed following the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
The steel sculpture concept is promoted by the American Institute of
Steel Construction (AISC). Although there are nearly 100 installations
nationally, the sculpture at CSU, Chico is the first in California.
This is surprising, since the high strength and resulting light weight
of structural steel framing is of particular significance in earthquake-prone
areas. AISC and its California-based affiliate, the Structural Steel
Educational Council, are hoping that the Chico sculpture will be the
first of many in California.
Despite the relatively compact size of the sculpture, the installation
was nearly a two-year undertaking. As a "sculpture" the device
was subjected to campus aesthetic reviews; as a "structure"
it was necessary to acquire the usual engineering certifications; and
as an "educational display" it was important to consider accessibility
issues. The project was further complicated by the desire to include
civil engineering students during the installation whenever possible.
Approximately 30 students participated, including members of Mills'
steel design course.
During the 2002 spring break, additional improvements will be made to
the area surrounding the sculpture. A patio, benches, landscaping and
informative signs are planned. When completed, the facility will stand
as a prominent testimonial to structural engineering.
Many individuals and groups contributed to the undertaking. Financial
support was provided by the California Iron Workers Administrative Trust
and by the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology at
CSU, Chico. The sculpture was fabricated by Eandi Metal Works, Oakland,
and on-site engineering services were donated by Roberts Consulting
Engineering and Applied Testing Consultants, both of Chico. Professor
Joel Arthur supervised students during construction of the concrete
footing, and campus Facilities Management and Services provided campus
oversight and trade services.
Two CSU, Chico alumni were instrumental in the undertaking. Jeffrey
Eandi, vice president of Eandi Metal Works, supervised fabrication of
the sculpture, and Mills provided the site design and coordinated the
For more information, contact Mills at the Department of Civil Engineering
California State University, Chico; Chico, CA 95929-0930; 530-898-6274
530-898-4576 (fax); firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Civil engineering students place the concrete footing