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Alexander Liberman's Begob stands on the lawn in front of the Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center.

North Campus offers more than just buildings and space for classrooms. It's an art museum, with sculptures and murals around every corner. Fittingly, many of the works on display around Michigan Engineering speak to the themes of science, industry or invention.

Take the campus's recent addition The Order of the Spheres. Artist Roberto Juarez painted the mural on the dome of the Aerospace Engineering Department's wind tunnel and completed the project in October 2010. An artist whose work is often said to allude to wind, Juarez describes the overlapping circles in this mural as representing velocity and wind.

Also adjacent to the Aerospace Engineering Department is the equally appropriate Wave Field. The field was designed by architect Maya Lin, who is best known for desiging the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. Constructed in 1995, the mounds of earth are intended to show the movement of air waves. The Association François-Xavier Bagnoud commissioned the piece.

Prominently featured in the North Campus diag, Alice Aycock's brilliantly chaotic Summaries of Arithmetic Through Dust, Including Writing Not Yet Printed (class gift of 1933E) was inspired by spiral galaxies and scientific diagrams of the scattering of particles. Conversely, the rusted cast iron material used to form Beverly Pepper's Triad Ritual (class gift of 1937E) brings modernization and the industrial revolution to mind.

As Kenneth Snelson designed Indexer II, a gift of the Class of 1950E, he had in mind the structural concept of "tensegrity"—structural integrity that balances compression and tension, often through outwardly-pushing metallic tubes. Fletcher Benton's Tilted Donut with S (class gift of 1956E), however, strives for unbalance and collapse from the pull of gravity, as do many of his other works. Artist Alexander Liberman is known for using industrial objects, and continued this with large sheets of steel in Begob, a class gift of 1945E and the NROTC classes starting in 1942.

The Lorch Column

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This 20-foot tall, seven-foot wide Lorch Column stands prominently in front of the Art and Architecture Building. A gift of Colonel William A. Starrett (BSE CE '1897, D. Eng Hon. '31), who was the Empire State Building's general contractor, the column memorializes Emil Lorch's role as founder of Taubman College.

The wolverine statue on North Campus

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On the hill overlooking the Reflecting Pool is a statue of a wolverine, the Class of 2001E gift. This life-size bronze piece, mounted on a granite boulder, was created by Dan Heikkinen, a 1981 graduate of the U-M School of Art & Design.

Tilted Donut with S, by kinetic sculptor Fletcher Benton

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Tilted Donut with S, a work by kinetic sculptor Fletcher Benton, is the emeritus gift from the Class of 1956E. It is located on the south lawn of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building.

Alice Aycock's sculpture in front of the H.H. Dow Building

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At the Diag's north perimeter, Alice Aycock's imposing 32-foot tall work rises exuberantly before the H.H. Dow Building, featuring a 19-foot-diameter vortex element, a skewed frame, megaphone, small cone and curled truss. This was the first of several major sculptural works acquired through a planned public works program made possible by a gift from the Class of 1933E.

Trio, by Gerome Kamrowski

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Kamrowki's colorful, ceramic particles engage the eye and add spirit to the Class of 1942 Plaza and Kennedy and Williams Terraces (1992) at the junction of H.H. Dow, EECS, and G. G. Brown buildings at the Dow Connector

Beverly Pepper's sculpture, a gift of the class of '37E

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A gift of the Engineering Class of '37E and the artist Beverly Pepper, this piece stands nearly eight-feet tall, adjacent to the Duderstadt Center. Its natural red-rust exterior and metal tri-partate structure lend colorful visual texture to all seasons.

Wave Field by Maya Lin

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Nestled in the courtyard of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Building, Wave Field is an intimate, pure earth artwork formed to represent the flow of air waves elemental to the study of aeronautics. Lin is best known for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

'The Order of the Spheres' by artist Roberto Juarez

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The most recently commissioned project "The Order of the Spheres" was completed in October 2010 by artist Roberto Juarez. The piece rests on the dome of wind tunnel for Michigan's Aerospace Engineering Department.

This dramatic pool is located near the Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center

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This dramatic pool, located on the southwest side of the Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center, was the emeritus gift of the Class of 1947 E. It includes 'Fred's Fountain,' a gift of Fred Matthaei (BSE IM '47).

Indexer II, the emeritus gift of the Class of 1950E

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Indexer II, the emeritus gift of the Class of 1950E, continues the tradition of North Campus sculpture serving as counterpoints to the surrounding architecture. Standing atop the hill at the south end of the Class of 1947E Reflecting Pool, it is the product of the imagination of Kenneth Snelson, whose work adorns the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Museum of Modern Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Alexander Liberman's 'Begob'

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Alexander Liberman's 'chili pepper red' steel sculpture weighs 12,000 pounds and stands 20-feet tall at the east entrance to the Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center. This acquisition was made possible by a generous gift from the Class of 1945E and the NROTC classes starting in 1942.

This piece was created by Clement Meadmore

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Created by Clement Meadmore, who originally studied aeronautical engineering at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, this piece is a gift of Jagdish C. (BSE CE '63, MSE '64) and Saroj Janveja (MA '68)

The noteworthy Hob Nob is a 32-foot-long, 17-foot-wide twisted aluminum block designed by the Australian artist Clement Meadmore. Before becoming a sculptor, Meadmore studied aeronautical engineering at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He designed a miniature prototype of Hob Nob in 1992, and, after his death in 2005, the University commissioned the construction of a larger-scale version. James Steward, director of the U-M Museum of Art, has said Hob Nob is "one of the artist's best pieces" and called Meadmore "one of the more significant sculptors of the second half of the 20th century." The replica was a gift from Jagdish C. (BSE CE '63, MSE '64) and Saroj (MA '68) Janveja.

Not every sculpture has a connection to engineering. The Wolverine statue, for example, is a life-size homage to the University's mascot. The statue was a gift of the Class of 2001E and created by Dan Heikkinen, a 1981 School of Art & Design graduate.

In addition to the College of Engineering, North Campus is home to the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the School of Art + Design and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Learn more about North Campus artwork by clicking on the images below and watching the video slideshow Form and Function.

Article topics: Art and Engineering


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