This week, the world’s tallest statue was completed in the Indian state of Gujarat. Four times the size of the Statue of Liberty, the monument serves to commemorate the life of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel; a key figure in uniting a divided India after the country freed itself from British colonial rule in 1947.

Known as the founding father of the Republic of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was instrumental in ensuring the peaceful integration of the princely Indian states into the Indian Union and the political unification of India.

Designed by Indian sculptor Ram V Sutar, the statue stands at a huge 182 metres high, dominating the skies around it. Creating a statue of this scale also provides it’s fair share of challenges and obstacles.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel - Statue of Unity

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Made out of scrap metal collected from around the country, the firm behind the construction, Michael Graves Architecture and Design, had to carefully ensure the structual qualities of the mammoth monument.

“As you can imagine with a project of this scale and level of complexity, there were several challenges to overcome,” James Wisniewski, principal of Michael Graves Architecture & Design and project leader on the Statue of Unity.

“One of the challenges was to create the statue in the walking pose while balancing the programmatic layout and function of the building’s core and structure. Luckily, Sardar Patel wore a traditional Indian dhoti of draped fabric, which allowed our team to design the elevator towers in a staggered fashion while giving the proper external appearance,” he added.

Statue of Unity

“However, with sandal-clad feet and exposed ankles, the statue is thinner at the base than at upper levels, the opposite of what is typically done.”

Although the bulk of the statue was made from scrap metal, the exterior is clad in bronze that will patina over time. Taking four years to build, a total of  210,000 cubic metres of cement, 25,000 tonnes of steel and 1,700 tonnes of bronze were used in the construction of the monument, costing 29.8 billion rupees (£314 million).
It’s these vast quantities of materials that created the tallest statue in the world, as the image below depicts it’s sheer size in comparison to other famous monuments.
Statue of Unity - Tallest In The World

Statue of Unity – Tallest In The World

However, it appears as though the battle for the skies is not only dominated by skyscrapers, but statues are also taking centre stage. The ongoing war to create the ‘tallest’ skyscraper, building, tower has been a long-romantised expedition, with architecture and design firms constantly trying to pip the other.
Despite the Statue of Unity, debuting at number one, it won’t retain it’s spot for long, as a 212-metre high statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji, India’s 17th century warrior king, astride a horse is planned to open in 2020 off the coast of Mumbai. The monument was originally intended to be 208 metres, but the design was revised to add some extra height on when it transpired that China’s Spring Temple Buddha in Henan was getting an extra pedestal added to make it 208 metres, too.

Statue of Unity

Such a rise in construction of world beating monuments points to India’s rise among the world powers as an economic and political force, as Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said the statue was a rebuttal to those “who question the existence of India” and stood as a symbol of the country’s “engineering and technical prowess”.
The Indian Air Force did a fly past spraying the orange, green and white colours of the flag at the opening ceremony, with the newly-built monument opening on 3rd November, where tourists can take a lift all the way to the top for straggering views over the Indian countryside.

Statue of Unity