Sculptures at Tippet Rise

About this project

General overview

Tippet Rise officially opened to the public on June 17, 2016. Located on a 12,000-acre working sheep and cattle ranch outside of Fishtail, Montana, Tippet Rise celebrates the union of art, music, architecture and nature within the shadow of the Beartooth Mountain Range. Tippet Rise hosts classical chamber music and recitals and exhibits large-scale, outdoor sculptures. Founded by lifelong philanthropists and artists Cathy and Peter Halstead, Tippet Rise features a number of large-scale sculptures spread throughout the property, a music barn and visitor center, along with an acoustic performance shell and outdoor pavilion.

What makes it special

Included in the sculptures are three permanent commissioned structures by Ensamble Studio (led by Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa) and constructed by OSM. These massive concrete structures include the 98-foot long by 16-foot tall Domo, the 26-foot tall Inverted Portal and the similarly designed 25-foot tall Beartooth Portal. The sculptures appear to look natural but, in fact, were conceived in advance using mockups and computer modeling.

Type of building

Concrete sculptures – Art Center

Other specific details

These structures posed an extremely complicated construction process. For Beartooth, our team brought in truckloads of gravel to form two side-by-side pads. Next, a backhoe scooped out some of the gravel to create oblong forms, which were filled with intricate rebar armatures. A crane then lifted the rebar so the holes could be lined with two layers of plastic membrane. After a partial concrete pour, the rebar was reinserted, followed by more concrete and a top layer of dirt and rocks, shoveled by hand. Once the concrete had cured, two cranes lifted the 425,000-pound slabs upright and delicately leaned one against the other. A similar process was repeated for Inverted Portal. For Domo, a similar construction technique was used, but it did not require lifting. We formed a mold in a built-up gravel bed for the entire piece, filled it with rebar and concrete, and then – after a month of curing – excavated gravel from underneath. The result is a kind of off-kilter three-legged table, nearly 100 feet long and weighing more than four million pounds.


Fishtail, Montana
Ensamble Studio
Erik Petersen, Tippet Rise