“Circle of Time” – The Red Bird Sundial Sculpture at HKUST
The Sundial Sculpture at the Piazza has become the icon of HKUST. Officially called the “Circle of Time”, it is often called the “Red Bird”. Commissioned by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and created by Irish-born Australia-based sculptors Charles and Joan Walsh-Smith, it was installed in 1991. The center piece is a sundial, one of the earliest scientific inventions which tells time by sunrays. The sculpture is made of steel and mounted on a paved podium of broad steps in the center of a pool of flowing water, symbolizing the passage of time. The podium incorporates a carved mural depicting 39 ancient Chinese accomplishments in all fields of science and technology.
The HKUST logo is in several ways symbolic of the University. Lyrically we visualize the golden head of wisdom over the open book of knowledge. Between the arms holding the book can be seen a flask representing science. Alternatively, it is a transmission tower representing engineering and technology or communication and management. We can also see a sun radiating gold, very traditional Chinese color, over an ocean glowing with the deep blue representative of Hong Kong. Supporting these emblems are the three Greek letters upsilon, psi and tau, that is: transliterating as HKUST.
The Armillary Sphere is one of the world’s oldest astronomical instruments for measuring the position of heavenly bodies. This ancient Chinese invention dated back to the West Han Dynasty, with design evolving through the centuries. The replica located at the Fung Shu Chuen Promenade linking UG Halls 1 and 2 is a half-dimension model of the armillary sphere made over 570 years ago in the Ming Dynasty and now housed at the Nanjing Purple Mountain Observatory.
The fountain outside LG7 canteen represents a harmony of nature with man, and a synergy of technology and worldwide communication. It is composed of five stones each from a different continent. The stone Asia is in the center, communicating with other continents through the ever-flowing water. The water-light-stone-space sculpture was created by Prof Hans Muhr, an Austrian sculptor famous for his design of water fountains and sculptures found in major cities around the world. The One World-Fountain at HKUST is his first symbolic water sculpture in Asia.