Burden the builder

Niki May Young
Friday 13 Jun 2008

Why is this 60ft skyscraper so impressive?

Ordinarily a 60ft skyscraper wouldn’t encourage many wows in the world of architecture but in Manhattan there currently stands just such a structure which has suitably awed the profession. Why? - Because it is made from Meccano.

The structure, designed by artist Chris Burden and sponsored by the Public Art Foundation, will pay homage to the historic skyscrapers that populate New York and give the city its iconic architectural presence. Standing in front of the Rockerfeller Centre in New York it is considered by the artist to be a ‘poetic interpretation’ of the 30 Rock building at the Centre. Painstakingly constructed by a team of thirty using just a few screwdrivers, presumably more than a few screws and over a million stainless steel Erector set pieces, the installation takes pride of place in its surroundings. The heavy-weight toy (16,000 pounds) is thought-provokingly entitled ‘What My Dad Gave Me’ and will continue to amuse and bemuse passers-by until the 19th July.

Burden told the Public Art Fund: "I have always wanted to build a model skyscraper using Erector parts. The model skyscraper, built from a toy and 65 feet in height, takes on the dimensions of a full sized building. The circle of actual buildings inspiring a toy in 1909, which is then used to build a model skyscraper the size of an actual building in 2008, is a beautiful metamorphosis."

Niki May Young
News Editor

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