If you are walking through the side streets of the city you may come across an artwork called ‘Underwood Ark’. It is a suspended Blackbutt tree that appears to pierce through three pedestrian walkways located above Underwood Street. The large root system can also be seen from Dalley Street (a street that runs between George and Pitt Streets, not far from Circular Quay).
A person walking along Underwood or Dalley Street may be surprised when they come across Underwood Ark. Why is a large tree stripped of all bark hanging 10 metres above Underwood Street? Is it there to create a feeling of walking under wood?
The tree is 35 metres long, with an estimated age of two hundred years and weighs 18 tonne.
Underwood Ark was installed in 2017 and resulted from a collaboration between Mirvac and the National Art School. The tree was sourced from the South Coast of NSW.
The artist, Michael McIntyre, who sculpted the root ball explains in a vimeo that the concept behind Underwood Ark was to respond to the natural bush that once existed on the land and evoke a feeling of pre-settlement.
Blackbutt (Eucalyptus Pilularis) is a type of hardwood that is native to the east coast of Australia. The name Blackbutt originates from the base or butt of the tree being blackened after fires.
Underwood Ark is not only a novel artwork but a reminder that you never know what you may randomly find in the streets of Sydney.