Virtuoso Statue Relocation
Installed in 1983, David Adickes’ “Virtuoso” statue has been a popular art fixture in downtown Houston for decades. Situated in the front of the Lyric Centre, Virtuoso sits at 36-feet tall. While making way for a landscape renovation project, the owners of the Lyric Centre wanted to relocate the statue approximately 20 feet to the northwest front of the building. The statue was originally assembled on site and from three different pieces, so it would be impossible to disassemble and rebuild it.
In order to begin this project, and to properly assess the best way to relocate this structure, the team at Walter P Moore had to establish how much the statue weighs, how the statue is supported, and whether the move is feasible at all. Without documentation of the original installation, investigative research was required to move forward. Project Engineer Kasra Ghahremani decided the best way to access the needed info was to go directly to the source – artist David Adickes’ studio. Adickes sat down with Kasra and shared the original installation documents, as well as construction photos, even inviting Kasra into his home. Using laser scanner data and nondestructive testing, the team was able to establish that the statue weighed right at 25 tons. Next the team made exploratory openings along with the use of a GPR scanner to evaluate the structure’s capacity to sustain the statue weight at its new location. Last, the Walter P Moore team assisted in designing a rigging system that safely and efficiently lifted the statue in one piece.
This project is a significant example of Walter P Moore’s dedication to innovative problem-solving, comprehensive investigation, and thorough communication with the client.