Made from Steel, Big Art Comes to the UK

giant steel horseheads

For the Thanksgiving weekend, a lighter note, but still very much metals-centric as only 600 tons of steel can be.

What would you do with 3.6 miles of steel sections weighing some 600 tons?

I suspect building two 100-ft-high horses’ heads is fairly low on the list, but that’s exactly what a firm in the UK has gone and done at Falkirk in Scotland.

As part of a £43m (US$ 69m) regeneration project covering some 350 hectares of land, the Glasgow artist and structural steel specialists SH Structures have done just that. The Helix redevelopment project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals is to include a new canal extension linking the Forth and Clyde Canal to the North sSea as well as provide infrastructure for commercial investments to follow.

Helix Park and lagoon, central to the regeneration project, is already attracting 15,000 visitors a day, yet isn’t formally open until next year.

The massive horses’ heads are called The Kelpies and after eight years in planning, took just five months to construct. With a steel internal frame and skin made up of steel panels held on with 10,000 special fixings and 34,000 component parts, the two structures don’t fail to impress.

The Kelpies are said to be the largest equine structure in the world and are expected to be a major tourist draw in the area. As the M9 motorway passes right by the structures, visitors to the area can hardly miss the artwork even if they wanted to.

Why Horses?

Well, the idea is they pay homage to the tradition of the working horses of Scotland that used to pull barges along Scotland’s canals and worked in the fields in the area where they now stand. The two horse heads stand on either side of the new canal and are the latest in a series of big art projects over the last 10 years in the UK.

Giddy up!

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