New England Boatworks in Portsmouth, R.I., is accustomed to building
high-tech composite boats. The boatbuilders and engineers at NEB recently turned their attentions to a different kind of construction, although using the same methods. This past summer, NEB completed construction on a Sept. 11 memorial for the borough of Staten Island in New York.
Using a composite laminate of E-glass, foam core and vinylester resin, the company built “Postcards,” a pair of 12-foot, wing-like sculptures that are mounted on the harborfront facing the Manhattan skyline.
The company was approached when concrete was found to lack the same structural capabilities of composite construction, particularly in its ability to withstand heavy winds. “Composite construction can withstand high loads and repeated flex without cracking,” said David MacBain of NEB. “By applying composite technology to buildings and sculptures, we are able to find elegant solutions to structural problems.”