Artwork that reaches for the sky

  • A sculpture to celebrate the University of Nottingham’s 60th anniversary
  • 49 tonnes of steel that project skywards
  • Lattices that taper from the base, unfurling as they reach the top

Aspire symbolises a vital aspect of the university. It sends a message to everyone that no matter where they come from, they can achieve great things. It celebrates our efforts to make the world a better place.

Professor Sir Colin Campbell
University of Nottingham, Vice-chancellor

Project Details

Location Nottingham, UK
Status Built 2008
Sectors Arts and culture, Education and research,
Height 60m/197ft
Client University of Nottingham

As a final touch to our various extensions of the University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus, we proposed a new public artwork for the campus, one that was distinctive but didn’t dominate the site.

We designed a 49-tonne tubular steel sculpture that rises into the Nottingham skyline. Its slender, tapered profile gives it a light presence on the ground and guides the eye upwards to its gentle unfurling at the top. The structure’s height, exactly 60m tall, commemorates the university’s 60th anniversary, celebrated in 2008.

The steel portion is a bold, eye-catching red – a strong contrast with its muted concrete plinth. The new landmark has created a vibrant new silhouette on Nottingham’s horizon but still ties in with the tiled facades of the two signature buildings we designed on for the campus.

Following a naming competition among staff and students, the artwork was named ‘Aspire’ – a fitting reference to its powerful symbolism. More than just a landmark, Aspire is a signal of intent, an imaginative, unmistakable symbol of the university’s ambitions for the future.