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University negotiates final details for installation of Serra sculpture

Installation of a massive Richard Serra sculpture, planned for the area between Peyton and Fine halls, has been delayed after the astrophysics department expressed concerns that lighting for the sculpture would interfere with the operation of telescopes on Peyton Hall's roof.

Consultants are completing lighting studies of the 94-foot-long, 162-ton sculpture, which is in storage in a University facility.


Vice President and Secretary Tom Wright '62 said the University is considering the astrophysics department's concerns, but added he is reasonably certain the sculpture will be erected in the planned location.

"I think the department is more comfortable than they were," Wright said, adding that the completed studies indicate that the lighting around the sculpture will not interfere with the telescopes significantly.

Wright said the remaining issues are the choice of lighting and engineering changes to the large utility lines under the sculpture's proposed site.


Astrophysics professor Bruce Draine said he is satisfied with the University's response to his department's concerns, but added he is leery of the sculpture's possible lighting schemes.

"I saw a report by a lighting consultant shown to us in December that suggested that very low amounts of lighting might be sufficient," Draine said. "But I'm concerned that at some future time, public safety considerations might lead to a sense that greater lighting would be required."

But according to astrophysics professor Edwin Turner, who uses the telescopes, "Any outdoor lighting in the area of a small telescope somewhat degrades your ability to see things in the sky which are quite faint.


"But we're not on some mountaintop in Arizona to start with. There's quite a bit of light around Peyton Hall."

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