Education and art: “Sculpture” is really a learning tool

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A new steel “sculpture” has been erected on the College of Engineering campus, although the piece is intended to be more of a learning tool than a work of art.

Red steel sculpture

The new “steel sculpture” on the engineering campus incorporates the most common ways of connecting steel members in building construction. (large image)

Located on the Randall Ave. side of Engineering Hall, “the sculpture is a display of the most common ways of connecting steel members in building construction and will be used as a teaching aid in our basic steel design courses,” explains Assistant Professor José A. Pincheira of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “The connections displayed by the sculpture are all real and full scale.”

The display was designed, fabricated and donated to UW-Madison by Zalk Josephs Fabricators, Inc., of Stoughton, Wis. Louis Gurthet, the former president of Zalk who is now president of the American Institute of Steel Construction, has been “a strong supporter of our program and provided the main thrust for the fabrication of the sculpture,” notes Pincheira.

The concept for this learning tool originated with Professor Duane Ellifritt of the University of Florida at Gainesville in 1986. Since then, various college campuses throughout the nation have come up with variations of Ellifritt’s idea.