Technical inspections on the work of art known as the “Spaceship” in France


Name: Technical inspections on the work of art known as the “Spaceship”
Client: Greater Bordeaux
Date: Autumn 2019
Size: 17 meters     
Place: On the Garonne River in Bordeaux, France


One year after the inauguration of the “Spaceship”, set on the Garonne River in Bordeaux, SOCOTEC, the leader in TIC (Testing, Inspection and Certification) for construction and infrastructure, conducted the technical inspections required under the maintenance plan created for this work of art. 


The “Spaceship” is the second work in a triptych entitled “The Spaceships of Bordeaux”, by British artist Suzanne Treister. The 17-metre-long work of art is set to hover over the swiftly-flowing Garonne River and is made of specially-designed aluminium plates.

This work offers an ambitious reflection on the use of technology as it ties into the city of Bordeaux and its history. Before it was inaugurated in May 2018, SOCOTEC's teams in Bordeaux conducted the technical inspections of the artwork and verified all calculations for the structure and its foundations.

In line with the maintenance plan drawn up for the work, they carried out a technical inspection one year later. The aim was to ensure the absence of any deterioration to the structure as well as to its visual and aesthetic impact. The semi-immersed base, exposed to the risk of corrosion, was examined with extra care. The teams’ undertaking was thus two-fold, with an inspector reviewing the work by boat, and a drone sent for an aerial inspection of the installation. 

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Metallic Structures Project Manager, Construction & Real Estate, SOCOTEC France

Metallic Structures Project Manager, Construction & Real Estate, SOCOTEC France
"This was a particularly interesting assignment, as our access to the work was by nature obstructed. I first went around the work by boat, inspecting the base. I then entered the vessel to check the state of conservation on the aluminium blades. Then we had a drone fly over the entire structure, and from that, were able to gain high-precision video material. Based on the resulting dual diagnosis, SOCOTEC was able to confirm that the work showed no major flaws."

Vincent Guillaud, Metallic Structures Project Manager, SOCOTEC (Construction & Real Estate Agency, Bordeaux)

visual of a spaceship

Spaceship video

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