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Art and technology have come together for one prominent Waikato school. St Peters School in Cambridge recently conducted a competition to design a fitting sculpture to commemorate the school’s 75th anniversary. Open to all students, the design brief was to reflect the life of St Peters – 75 years of Body, Mind Spirit, but still retain the concept of the school in the 21st century.
The winning concept, designed by Year 13 student Chel Chan was further developed by Tech Arts staff and brought to Thames engineering company A&G Price for manufacture. Working closely with the school, A & G Price engineers and foundry staff developed a manufacturing method that maintained maximum input from the school.
Once the final designs were complete and 3-D computer models created, pattern-makers from A & G Price built polystyrene blanks, which the students at St Peters shaped to create exact replicas of the finished articles. Recesses were incorporated to house the glass panels and timber inserts, and feet were added to lock the statues into the concrete footings. The styrene replicas were used as patterns to complete resin sand moulds ready for casting.
Each statue was individually cast in a special grade of cast iron, and soaked in oil baths to achieve a long-lasting finish. The material was especially selected to achieve the impression of dried leaves as the cast iron weathered. Total weights ranged from 380kg to 550kg.
An official unveiling ceremony was held recently as part of the school’s 75th anniversary celebration, with the honour of unveiling the statues passing to Mr Grey Whitney, a first-day boy at the opening of the school in 1934.
These statues are another fine example of the innovation and engineering skills of A & G Price, and show what stunning results can be achieved through the combination of art and technology.