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'Circle of Time' - Sundial Sculpture - HKUST

Artists Concept


'CIRCLE OF TIME' Sundial Sculpture:

The Red Bird

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology


When asked to create a concept for the major sculpture/artwork, to be situated at the main entrance of the new University, we felt that the theme should be firmly 'in context' with it's setting; that it should reflect, in some way, the ambiance of it's location; be relevant, and respond both visually and metaphorically to the University. Thus, we chose to create a contemplative 'circle of time', as an area of rest and contemplation for the students; an oasis within the bustling matrix of this vast complex. Of buildings.


Starting from the basis that the location was an ultramodern, brand new university of science and technology, on one hand, and the knowledge that the Chinese were responsible for approximately 50% of contemporary technologies, we decided to design an environment in which sculpture and observer became integrated in a celebration of this amazing Chinese heritage. It was the sheer magnitude of Chinese achievements in all fields of science and technology, that inspired us, after much research, to design an area comprising various features of sculpture and landscape elements, firmly rooted in ancient symbolism. The centerpiece sculpture is based on,' arguably', the oldest technological device in the World: a sundial.


This major focal-point is a great, eight and a halt meter high 'Timepiece', which is a synthesis of art and science, in that it is a sculpture which actually functions as a sundial, and a sundial which is also a sculpture, irrespective of it's functional element. The soaring, sweeping, graceful forms of this centerpiece, is suggestive of dynamic movement and complex rhythms of shape, which use the Sun and it's shadows as an intrinsic element of it's function, both visually and aesthetically.


The 'Timepiece' is perched atop a podium of broad steps in the canter of a pool, which in turn, feeds the waterfalls These 'cascades' are symbolic of the flow of history, and are used to frame a recessed area in the circular podium which contains a seven-meter long by one and a half meter high, low relief sculpture, depicting the history of Chinese Science and Technology. Once again, the details of the relief are only discernible by the myriad of shadows cast by it's highly articulated surface. This is a further development of the timepiece concept, but one which will reward the observer with many hours of contemplative enjoyment.


Joan Walsh-Smith

Charles Smith










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