Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

$250,000 sculpture removed from Queen St

The $250,000 Horotiu art work in the Queen St pavement outside the Civic Theatre. Photo / Glenn Jeffrey
The $250,000 Horotiu art work in the Queen St pavement outside the Civic Theatre. Photo / Glenn Jeffrey

The $250,000 glass and light sculpture set in the pavement outside the Civic Theatre on Queen St has disappeared.

The "collaborative artwork" by Elizabeth McClure, architectural firm Architectus, street furniture company HUB Street Equipment and the former Auckland City Council has been dismantled and taken away.

Last night, a council spokeswoman could not say what the future is for the artwork, or if it has a future.

The feature did not pass current safety slippage requirements and had become a public safety hazard
council spokeswoman

The LED-illuminated work, called Source, comprised five, 600kg glass blocks, set in a "river line" to represent the Horotiu stream that once flowed down Queen St. It included a haiku, or Japanese poem, set in the pavement by the distinguished poet Hone Tuwhare.

When the sculpture was unveiled by former Auckland City Mayor Dick Hubbard in 2007 as part of a $43.5 million upgrade of Queen St he called it "an absolutely stunning addition to our main street."

The council spokeswoman said the work was carefully dismantled at the end of October and removed by the council from the site.

"The feature did not pass current safety slippage requirements and had become a public safety hazard in this location.

"Upon investigation, the advice received from consultants was that the extent of the renewal work required in order to meet friction standards would not be feasible and would compromise the purpose and appearance of the work," the spokeswoman said.

When it was installed, the former city council said the glass surface had been roughened and covered with an epoxy solution to make it "slip resistant and safe for pedestrians".

The spokeswoman said all parties involved in the creation of Source were notified about the removal. The decision to remove the artwork is in line with the Public Art Policy 2014, she said.

McClure, a Scottish-born glass artist whose role was limited to conceptual development, could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, the council has still to announce a completion and opening date for the $1.5 million "lighthouse" sculpture on Queens Wharf. Work on the sculpture, based on a modest, two-storey Mt Eden state house, "is taking a bit longer than we expected", said arts and culture manager Kaye Glamuzina.

- NZ Herald

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