Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), steel core up to 15.5 m high, steel rings set at 15.5 and 52 m heights; total height: 52 m; diameter below: 32 m, number of rods: 32, diameter of one rod: 275 mm below, 225 mm above
Production: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Kunstwerk Mae West am Effnerplatz in Munich (Prof. Rita McBride and CGB Carbon Großbauteile GmbH)
In Rita McBride’s art, architecture is both a reference point as well as a starting point, playing a special role as one of the principles behind form and construction. For example, she reconstructed existing parking garages as sculptural models, or built “arenas,” derived from design elements, that could actually be used as grandstands. By continuing and overcoming minimalist traditions, McBride repeatedly explores the relationships between serial construction elements and volumes, as well as among function, design, and meaning.
In this sense, her architectural sculpture designed for the Effnerplatz is also captivating. The clean structure, reduced to a minimum, is made of thirty-two identical carbon rods. They form a fifty-two-meter high, rotating hyperboloid, a strictly geometrical body created by the rotation of the rods above a circular form. The carbon fiber material, mainly used for boat building, has never been used in these dimensions before. In contrast to heavy steel, it offers a sense of lightness and constructive elegance. The linear rods create a flat, web-like texture, which in turns forms a voluminous body. Looking up from the inside, linear patterns appear against the sky. Seen from a distance, the sculpture set amid the surrounding high-rises can look like an architectural still life.
Usually, architecture has a function, but Rita McBride’s architectural sculpture is an end in itself. Its lack of function and its form inspire the imagination to make the most diverse associations with it. McBride named it Mae West, after the Hollywood star. Seen by itself, the sculpture itself is autotelic, but in the urban fabric it becomes a striking contemporary landmark that provides a center for the square, which is surrounded by extremely diverse buildings, and at the same time marks it as a transportation hub.