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Olympics, the Shard and Crossrail put in the frame for new exhibition

The ICE has funded a number of paintings by artist Jonathan Meuli to capture the huge scale and ambition of the construction under way in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The portfolio of 12 paintings, titled “Painting a New London”, not only give a view of the venues from an artist’s perspective, but illustrate the relationship between civil engineers and their environment and showcase the importance of infrastructure in society.

The art project was sponsored by the ICE’s Research and Development Enabling Fund, which forms part of a portfolio of charitable activity undertaken by ICE.

The fund aims to promote the technical development of civil engineering by enabling a range of research projects to get under way. The fund receives its income through a voluntary donation by ICE members, separate to their subscription, and through additional donations.

“The paintings had to relate to both to a professional engineer who knows how to design a roof compression truss and to someone who has never heard of a roof compression truss”

Jonathan Mueli

The paintings feature some of the key infrastructure projects running concurrently surrounding the Olympic site − such as the East London line and Crossrail − as well as the Olympic site itself, the main stadium and the Aquatic Centre.

Other major construction projects in central London such as the Heron Tower and the ‘Shard of Glass’ at London Bridge are also captured.

Jonathan Meuli, a Glasgow-based artist and writer, has a keen interest in depicting and interpreting the urban landscape in new ways. He has written on art in relation to the built environment and has exhibited widely in the UK.

Meuli said: “The aim of this project was to demonstrate and celebrate the excitement of civil engineering, both as a process and a shaper of landscapes and environments. And to communicate this to two audiences − civil engineers and the general public.

“The transformation of London at the beginning of the third millennium is a tremendous human endeavour, and it should be recorded for our own generation and for future generations”

Scott Steedman

“In other words the paintings had to relate to both to a professional engineer who knows how to design a roof compression truss and to someone who has never heard of a roof compression truss, but who is nonetheless awed by the construction of a skyscraper.

“Having these two distinct audiences created an interesting tension that affected the way in which the paintings developed,” he added.

Scott Steedman, chairman of ICE’s Research and Development Enabling Fund, said: “Every large-scale human endeavour deserves to be recorded and interpreted by artists − whether by painters, writers or musicians.

“The transformation of London at the beginning of the third millennium is a tremendous human endeavour, and it should be recorded for our own generation and for future generations.

“This portfolio of paintings provides the basis of an interpretation of this important period in British history, while at same time increasing public recognition and awareness of the immense value of the work of ICE members and the civil engineering industry.”

 

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