Take ball and run with it, budding engineers urged
Experts hope that the creation of a 40-metre high piece of public art made from more than 2,000 steel tubes and more than 800 joints will inspire the next generation of engineers and help cement peace in Ireland.
Designers liken building RISE - the sphere sculpture erected on Broadway's interchange in Belfast - to "trying something really big in Meccano".
The structure - two concentric spheres, one inside the other - was commissioned by Belfast City Council and is conceived as a "symbol of unity and welcome".
RISE, which cost nearly £500,000, was designed and created by artist Wolfgang Buttress and specialists from London firm Price & Myers.
It was built following the creation of a virtual computer model and the sculpture's structural engineer Tim Lucas said building RISE was like "putting together a big model kit".
"I used to like Fishertechnik, a German version of Meccano, when I was a kid," he said.
"I'd like to think that RISE might inspire children putting together the latest model kits over Christmas to be the next generation of engineers."
Mr Buttress added: "In essence, the concept is very simple. I wanted a sculpture that could be seen and appreciated in any orientation - physical, emotional or political.
Belfast Lord Mayor Niall O Donnghaile described it as a "truly magnificent structure - a new icon and a stunning welcome to visitors to Belfast and an inspiration to all for years to come".