UT Tyler Home to Latest AISC Steel Sculpture

Photos: J. Torey Nalbone, PhD

Planted majestically outside of the Ratliff Building, home to the University of Texas at Tyler’s College of Engineering, a brown steel sculpture juxtaposes tan brick buildings and open green spaces. The sculpture seamlessly appears to have always been a part of the college’s landscape.

However, it was only recently erected on June 9.

Initially, J. Torey Nalbone, PhD, an associate professor at UT Tyler, contemplated the sculpture’s creation. He didn’t understand how it would be used and where it would be located. Would the sculpture have a positive impact on the engineering students’ education? How could the physical structure be utilized as a teaching tool for visual and experiential learners?  

Then there was the problem of aesthetics; he thought the sculpture would be “ugly.” Nevertheless, he proceeded, following AISC’s steel sculpture plans and specifying an 8-ft x 8-ft x 8-ft model.

Then, a fabricator partner was identified—Tyler Steel Company (an AISC member) to fabricate the steel.  

“We are very appreciative of the donation of materials and the fabrication,” said Nalbone. “Without Tyler’s generosity and commitment to student learning opportunities, this could not have happened. Both have a long history of supporting and working with UT Tyler.”

Locating the sculpture outside of the engineering classrooms was paramount for establishing more educational modes of learning. “It provides a unique opportunity to engage students with a real-life demonstration of the connections and steel structure appearances during instruction and study,” Nalbone said.

As for the visual aspect, Nalbone loves it—although he might change the color in the future. But for now, he is excited for the students to return in the fall, ready to use the sculpture in their education.

Learn more about AISC’s steel sculpture program, and how to erect a sculpture on your campus, here.