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Aluminium portal for peace

May 23, 2005, 10:00 CEST

When the new Nobel Peace Center in Oslo opens this June, visitors will enter through a World Portal sculpture by noted architect David Adjaye - made of aluminium from Hydro.

The portal is a large rectangular shape that was developed by the architects and Hydro's aluminium research and development center and is being fabricated by the Marine Aluminium unit at Karmøy, on the west coast of Norway.

Hydro, which is also a main sponsor of the Nobel Peace Center, is donating the aluminium for the portal.

“This is a very exciting project,” says Tove Veierød, who is in charge of Hydro’s sponsorship activities. “It is a very eye-catching work.”

The portal will indeed attract attention. It will stand outside the Peace Center, measuring 11 meters wide by 7 meters deep by 3.5 meters high. The architect will use lasers to form 2,500-plus holes in the aluminium in the shape a map of the world.

Jostein Førland, principle engineer at the R&D center, and Ole Terje Midling, the production manager at Marine Aluminium, say the sculpture presented some design and fabrication challenges, but that the Karmøy operations were more than up to the task.

“We work with structural analysis and design, and have a lot of experience with load-bearing aluminium structures, but also with bridges and other big structures, applications and pieces of art,” Førland explains, “while Marine Aluminium constructs and fabricates offshore, helicopter decks and marine applications.”

The portal will be made up of structural extrusions and panel extrusions that are friction stir welded together. Fabrication work was being performed under a tight schedule in the run-up to the Peace Center opening June 11.

“Most complex were the curves that were needed. They were a challenge to make perfectly,” Førland says.

The World Portal was originally to be made with steel, but considerations of weather, weight and surface finish pointed to aluminium. Once again.