• IN THE NEWS

Engineering art at Tate Modern

October 2019
The latest Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern was revealed this week and Whitby Wood turned out to help celebrate its successful installation. Working closely with Brighton makers millimetre, we engineered artist Kara Walker’s spectacular fountain, Fons Americanus, a biting commentary on the British Empire and the transatlantic slave trade.

Kara Walker at Tate Modern
Fons Americanus by Kara Walker, photo: Whitby Wood

The inspiration for the 13m high fountain is the Queen Victoria memorial that fronts Buckingham Palace. Walker’s version takes a similar format — a central figure on a giant pedestal surrounded by more figures, in a pair of oval water-filled basins populated by various sea creatures and tableau. We were involved from the early stages, using our experience with temporary structures and monumental artworks to assist in the devising of a strategy for its construction, transportation and craning-in at Tate Modern.

The fountain is composed of multiple elements, the sizes of which were governed by transport issues and weight considerations. Millimetre wanted to achieve as sustainable a solution as possible and this was a key factor in the choice of materials.

Steel has been used as an armature to strengthen the sections, provide stability and enable craning. Skeletal frames of timber ply were used to form up the main shapes, supporting sustainably-sourced cork to create the figures — shaped using a 7-axis robotic cutting machine. The cork is coated in Jesmonite (acrylic and cement composite) to give a smooth white non-toxic finish. Water is supplied through pipework and pumps coordinated with the structure.

Kara Walker at Tate Modern

Kara Walker at Tate Modern

Kara Walker at Tate Modern

Kara Walker at Tate Modern

Fons Americanus is the 2019 Hyundai Commission for Tate Modern : www.tate.org.uk
It was designed by American artist Kara Walker, and realised by millimetre.

  news index
Also in the news

The hut the scouts will build

JUne 2020
A terrific scout hut project with architect Pattern — for the 2nd/9th scout group in Ruislip, west London
Greenwich Peninsula Design District

Bird's eye view : Greenwich peninsula Design District

JUne 2020
Drone operators Digital Wasp have released a terrific aerial video

Seb and Chris cycle to MIPIM — virtually

May 2020
They made it! All the way from London to Cannes on static bikes ... for Coram
The Wiltern, Perivale, London

The Wiltern gets planning approval

May 2020
Amro announces the granting of planning approval for residential project in Ealing
Emma Francois

Supporting RedR — volunteering

May 2020
Emma Francois' latest volunteer work with disaster relief charity RedR

Five staircases in the City of London

May 2020
Working with Littlehampton Welding on part of a commercial fit-out in the City of London.

Engineer scales Mt Bintumani for CODEP without leaving home

May 2020
Mike Gatfield scales a mountain of stairs for Sierra Leone charity
Fairfield Homes, Croydon

Planning approval granted for Fairfield Homes project

May 2020
Brick By Brick's new residential project for Croydon moves to the next stage

Progress at Preston Barracks site in Brighton

April 2020
Latest site pictures from Henry Construction of residential scheme in Brighton
Kingswood project, Surrey

Legal & General Kingswood project gets green light

April 2020
Planning approval granted for £215m retirement community project
Cycle to MIPIM 2020

Seb + Chris cycle to MIPIM 2020

January 2020
Couch potatoes to elite athletes! Support Seb + Chris as they attempt the Cycle to MIPIM endurance charity challenge
Cup Cube installation, London

Engineering art in support of The Cup Fund

January 2020
Visit Cup Cube and see just how many disposable cups are used in the UK ... EVERY MINUTE!

Packing 16 buildings into the top five

January 2020
AJ selects Greenwich Peninsula Design District in its top five UK buildings to watch out for in 2020
Whitby Wood Bristol office

Bristol office takes off!

December 2019
Our Bristol office opens, and we are appointed on a commercial redevelopment project in the city.
Tolworth Tower

Tolworth Tower project gains planning consent

, ,
November 2019
First phase: tower refurbishment and adaptation, retaining the distinctive concrete frame