12 m long and weighing 10 t, almost two thirds of the post tensioned axis from Nero Assoluto granite rises out from a glazed underground shaft. Together with the solid granite disc on the level of the equator, the sculpture forms the distance between the poles at a scale of 1:1,000,000.
Not only is the post tensioned granite sculpture positioned parallel to the Earth’s axis, it also rotates at the same speed, allowing the exact time to be read off the rotating disc. The clock hand is made from a stainless steel band in the floor covering, which runs from North to South across the whole square. The granite disc on the level of the equator is made from one piece, and is 30 cm thick and 250 cm in diameter. The fact that the over 12 m long
axis is compressed by 4 mm through post tensioning, gives an idea of the size of the forces acting upon this sculpture. A three-page article in the magazine “NATURSTEIN” describes the challenges involved in the construction. “An ingenious static construction prevents the column (...) from warping and rendering the clock mechanism inoperative” (...). (Translated from the magazine 11/1999)
The Axis of the Earth project, scale 1:1,000,000 was the winning project in a competition by Philipp Holzmann AG for a work of art at the entrance of the new City Carré in Magdeburg. Other projects by Timm Ulrichs: “Der Große Wagen” (The Big Dipper), Bremen-Lilienthal, 1997 Public square “Domblick” (Cathedral View), Magdeburg-Buckau, 2003