Lyric Virtuoso Statue Relocation
Installed in 1983, David Adickes' "Virtuoso" statue has been a popular art fixture in downtown Houston for decades. Walter P Moore's civil, parking, and structural engineering groups were working on a building modification next door to the statue when Hines, the building's property manager, indicated a desire to move the art piece. In the process of changing their plaza to allow for a new half-block garage, the landscape architect determined that it would be best to move the statue in order for it to blend in well with the new design — approximately 20 feet northwest of its current location.
In order to begin the project and determine the best relocation strategy, the Walter P Moore team had to establish the statue weight, as well as framing and foundation/support conditions of both the statue and the underground garage it sits above. Without documentation of the original construction or installation, moving forward required significant investigative research. Project Engineer, Kasra Ghahremani, determined the best way to obtain the required statue information was at the source — artist David Adickes. At his studio, Adickes shared his memory of the original installation, as well as construction photos, and even invited Kasra into his home.
The installation photographs indicated that the statue was assembled on site from three different pieces, rendering it virtually impossible to disassemble and rebuild the statue without damaging it. Consequently, the team explored the option of lifting the statue and its base in one piece. This required knowing the Virtuoso statue and support pedestal weights. Using Gilbane's 3D laser scan of the entire statue, Adickes' construction photos, and nondestructive testing, Walter P Moore estimated the weight of the statue (around 25 tons) and its center of gravity for lifting purposes. Next, the team performed both nondestructive and exploratory investigations of the new site and evaluated the existing garage roof structure's capacity to sustain the statue and base weight at the new location. The Walter P Moore team then designed a rigging system for the contractor to safely and efficiently lift the statue in one piece from the base. Upon relocating, the team designed a new anchoring system that matched the original for anchoring the statue to the structure below at its new location.
This project is a significant example of Walter P Moore's rising to the complex challenge of ensuring no harm to the artwork, as well as showcasing our dedication to innovative problem-solving, comprehensive investigation, and informative communication with the client.