Texas Tech Community

Texas Tech Public Art: Astrolabe

picture of the astrolabe structure on campus
Graphic by Campus Live Intern Sierra Gumbs

A Distinct Sculpture

Astrolabe is one of the most captivating sculptures in Lubbock. It’s located in the courtyard of the Experimental Sciences Building on the campus of Texas Tech University. The structure is complex in nature and challenges the perspective of viewers.

Owen Morrel is the artist who created this sculpture. The architect behind it is Diego Ortero. Texas Tech University installed this sculpture onto its campus in 2014. The budget for the artwork was $235,000.

The Structure of “Astrolabe”

The dimensions of the sculpture are 10’ x 10’ x 10’. Stainless steel and aluminum are the materials of that make up the entire structure. Furthermore, Astrolabe’s design is inspired by a scientific instrument of the same name. Historically, the origins of the base of this instrument date back to around 200 B.C.

To clarify, Astrolabe’s design is not a literal copy of the tool that it drew inspiration from. Morrel stated that, “…In this instance, ‘Astrolabe’ asks the viewer to be active and walk around the piece in an effort to discover what is happening and how it works formally and visually, not necessarily to solve a riddle in a linear and rational fashion.”

The design is very complex and requires any viewer to examine it carefully. It resides there to provoke thoughts of observance and exploration. ‘Astrolabe’ encourages viewers to interpret it however they please. However, it also encourages them to examine why they perceive it the way they do.


‘Astrolabe’ is a unique sculpture that will draw the attention of anyone who views it. ‘Astrolabe’ stands out significantly, but is also thought-provoking. It gives its audience the chance to admire a spectacle but also contemplate their own perspectives. If you’re ever on the Texas Tech University campus, be sure to check out this sculpture!

For more Campus Live art articles, click here!

To learn more about the artist, Owen Morrel, click here!

Written by Campus Live Intern Jacob Lee

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