The "Floating Head" Sculpture, Glasgow
Concrete Repairs Ltd (CRL) was approached in 2020 by the Sculpture Placement Group to restore and bring some life back to the iconic floating sculpture created by Richard Groom and made for the Glasgow Garden Festival of 1988.
The "Head" miraculously survived all these years, having narrowly escaped destruction, but was still in need of some repair to make it sea-worthy. In order to restore the "Head", Sculpture Placement Group worked with various partners, including the family of the artist Richard Groom and the Glasgow Science Centre. To finance the works it was necessary to carry out 'crowdfunding'.
The "Head" was originaly constructed on the hull of a boat with a steel and mesh armature covered with a cement render.
Sculpture Placement Group wanted to retain as many original features as possible above the waterline but wanted the externals of the "Head" below the waterline to be repaired and coated to offer the best chance of it being water-tight and being able to float, bearing in mind that the sculpture had been out of the water since the late 80's.
Akzo Nobel and Kestrel Construction provided the materials free of charge for this project.
In order to make the hull water-tight, CRL repaired areas of the hull where the cement render-coating (which was covering a thin concrete construction with embedded mesh reinforcement) was delaminating. The entire surface of the hull was then prepared using high pressure steam (DOFF) and two coats of Intercrete Cemprotec 851F were applied.
Internally, due to anticipated loading during re-launch, the keel position was strengthened using a high strength screed. The bow and stern tow points were also structurally repaired to allow the "Head" to be towed by tug up the Clyde to it's new home at the Glasgow Science Centre basin. The cast iron cover (whivh had been removed at some point) was recovered from within the hull and reset within the 'forehead'. Only essential repairs were undertaken above the waterline with the weathering and moss growth retained as features.
The scope of works included;
- Restoration works,
- Concrete repairs,
- DOFF cleaning, and
- Structural repair.
The "Head" is planned to be re-floated back in the river Clyde in late 2021.