“Menger Pyramid” 2011 is a large eye-catching contemporary
concrete sculpture at the front of the new school buildings
of Coláiste Choilm in Tullamore. It is located outside
the secondary entrance, as this is the “main entrance”
for the majority of students and staff.
The large artwork is constructed from fifty-nine individual
components of cast concrete, securely attached together with
stainless steel dowels, and a welded stainless steel structure
built in two sections that are invisibly bolted together.
Concrete was chosen as the main material to complement the
design of the new buildings. Concrete is also very robust,
an ideal material for outdoor sculpture and in particular
ideal for the daily interaction with the students. From a
cost perspective the use of concrete has allowed the development
of a very large-scale artwork that would not have been possible
using other materials within the available budget. Three large
portions of the concrete are polished to a smooth and reflective
finish. Six concrete seating cubes with polished upper surfaces
accompany the sculpture. The stainless steel section provides
a bright pinnacle to the artwork.
The sculpture is based on a 3D fractal called the Menger
Sponge, described by Karl Menger in 1926. The sculpture is
the shape of the negative spaces removed to create Menger’s
Sponge, its opposite form, an “anti-sponge” or
perhaps “coral”. I have tilted it at 45 degrees
in two different axes, to reveal a pyramidal form, creating
a dynamic between the sculpture and the vertical lines of
the new building.
One aspect of the sculpture that immediately appeals to the
students is that the pattern created is directly and easily
comprehensible. It is visually obvious that the reverse shape,
the Menger Sponge, follows the same rules. Patterns of a Sierpinski
Carpet, the 2 dimensional pattern from which the Menger Sponge
is developed, decorate the seating cubes around the sculpture.
As far as my research can reveal this is the first public
sculpture to be based on the Menger “Anti-Sponge”!
For more info and a better view of the images
right, simply click on them.
Click on the thumbnail images below to see larger images.