Odds and quads

August 12, 2010

These three Aztec-style sculptures stand guard in the inner square of what was once Salford Technical College and is now part of the University of Salford.

When the building, which is now the Faculty of Health and Social Care, opened in 1966, the architects commissioned William Mitchell to produce a piece of landscape art and suggested that he should make three figures.

Mr Mitchell moulded them on site over a period of 10 days at a cost of about £1,000 each. After consultations with the president of the students' union, he also sandblasted the wall on the first-floor concourse to create a massive mural.

The sculptures in red, black and natural concrete, inset with mosaics, stand 4.5m tall and weigh four to five tonnes. They are positioned to catch the morning and evening light on their faces.

At the building's opening ceremony, the Duke of Edinburgh took one look at the pieces and asked: "What the hell is that?"

The Mayor of Salford replied: "It is a remarkable piece of modern art."

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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