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Subterranean Spanish cuboid gets technical OK


AMBITIOUS PLANS to construct a giant 50m-span cuboid-shaped cavern inside a Spanish mountain are technically feasible, Arup engineers confirmed this week.

Arup is lead consultant on the £50M-plus art installation proposed for the island of Fuerteventura in the Canaries. It is working with Spanish architect Lorenzo Fernandez Ordonez and Scott Wilson Piesold.

The ambitious engineering sculpture within Mount Tindaya is the idea of celebrated Spanish artist Eduardo Chillida. He died in 2002 before the project could be realised, but much of his work focused on scale and how space is defined.

The cavern, at 65m long by 50m wide by 40m high, would be one of the largest unsupported spans in the world. But unlike previous large-span rock caverns, Chillida's cube would have a flat roof as opposed to a more structurally efficient arch.

The Spanish government, which proposes to pay for the artwork, had demanded that Arup prove the project is technically feasible before allowing invasive site investigation to start this summer. Ground characterisation to date is based on geophysical investigations and remote sensing.

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