The last pieces of production artwork have now been signed off. Most of the front elevation of the building has now been installed. Weirdly I’ve not yet been up to see it. Been pretty busy here in Ramsgate.
A good thing is that Guy Topping commissioned a further piece of work from me – a 7m diameter granite mosaic of a large flower for the main entrance threshold. The manufacturing work was commissioned from Bannister Hall Landscape Supplies and will be manufactured in China.
I have been incredibly lucky to collaborate once again with Mark Durey at The Cutting Room in Huntingdon. I worked with Mark on the cnc cut facade for the new Heart of the Campus Building at Sheffield Hallam University Collegiate Campus. I am indebted to him for bringing these projects to life in way I could not deliver on my own. My colleague Sarah Alldritt also deserves a big thanks for her work translating my original artwork into ai vectors. Mark imports these digital files and re-builds the artwork through an Alphacam CAD CAM softwareprogramme to create the work. That may seem a straightforward digital process created by clever software …let me tell you that it is not. The translation from my artwork to end product is anything but straightforward in this instance. Mark is the key here. He has a clear understanding of how the programmes work – but – more importantly he is prepared to go ‘off-road’ and put his experience to task, problem solving and bringing an entirely bespoke service into play to produce the outcomes you see. I am lucky to have him as a collaborator.
Mark has an individual methodology at play whilst creating the cutting files. He adds colour to enable him to plan the work and – indirectly, I find these images inspiring and creative in themselves. Probably annoyingly I am always asking for screenshots of particular details.
The latest image by the client Guy Topping – the left hand elevation for The Flower Bowl Main Entrance – but how did we get to this point?
The last decade has seen Margate’s cultural landscape flourish with the dual success of Turner Contemporary and a resurgent Dreamland to book-end the seafront panorama. Successful regeneration by Thanet Council has also brought significant and tangible changes to the Old Town. One of the most significant outcomes delivered by the Council without fanfare or drama however, has been the Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – also known more fondly as Margate Steps. A scheme funded by the Environment Agency to the tune of £6million pounds and brought in on time and under budget …and somewhat under the radar. This example of coastal civil engineering encompassed not only the Steps, but the Harbour Arm and Sea Wall along Marine Drive. This elegant and functional concrete stepped revetment structure has also brought a much needed and highly activated public realm and pedestrian space to the Town.
Throughout its history, a major catalyst for change and development in Margate had been the destructive force of storms and storm surges. These pages are taken from the Contextual Research Document, which I delivered in collaboration with the project team.
I was commissioned as project artist on the scheme by Thanet District Council & the Environment Agency in December 2010. My role was to uncover and present interpretive & contextual information & develop concepts with which to influence the design process & inform the structure & detailing of this major sea defence works. The work has now been completed and the project officially opened in May 2013.
Being part of an integrated design team from an early point was critical in enabling the contextual work, via a contribution to the detailed DESIGN & ACCESS STATEMENT , to influence the physical form of the structure, within its constraints as a sea defence work.
The public realm and amenity space which the project afforded Margate’s sea front has been a tremendous addition to an enlivened and highly activated sea front promenade which has Turner Contemporary and the Harbour Arm at one end & Margate Station & Dreamland at the other.
In 2011, I took a series of Animal Thanet images entitled Pegwell Safari – down on the abandoned concrete apron of the former Pegwell Bay Hoverportat Pegwell Bay, Thanet. These images formed part of a postal art project.
Some of the images show the cooling towers & chimney of the former Richborough Power Station, which were demolished by explosives at 09.07am on 11th March 2012.
These images consider & reflect wider concerns for the natural world, particularly focussed on the lives of its wild animals, conservation, loss of habitat, diminishing numbers, poaching, extinction and callous exploitation, which holds a mirror to our humanity. We may soon only have plastic versions of our wild neighbours to play with. The last decade has witnessed the slow & horrible realisation that our negative impact on the planet and particularly our plastic pollution of almost every environment, is a catastrophe for the world around us.
In March 2011 a Sperm Whale beached and died at Pegwell Bay. I remember running along the beach at low tide all the way from Ramsgate to see it. A whale necropsy was carried out the following day, which was astonishing to see.
Other images were taken earlier in April 2008, of plastic animals from my collection at various sites in Ramsgate and along Ramsgate Main Sands and the Thanet Coast –
Kingsbridge Lane in Southampton is a historically important and longstanding pedestrian-only route with no vehicular access. This makes the site significant to Southampton. It is a long surviving link to the western route in and out of Southampton along the coastal strand, which formed the northern shore of the River Test Estuary until the early 20th Century. The footpath runs along a narrow strip of land between the existing railway tunnel and the historic and long abandoned tunnel of the Southampton to Salisbury Canal, which ran along what is now Blechynden Terrace, linking Central Station to the Guildhall Square &Cultural Quarter. My role within this project was to develop a contextual response to the site, which would, hopefully, influence the landscape design and regenerative design process in collaboration Simon Taylor of Balfour Beatty Living Places , Southampton City Council and Hardscape.
The footpath is busy, particularly at peak travel times, but is tired, with aged materials and and unkept vibe, even more striking now that the route connects the two recently completed ‘Quarters’, Cultural & Station – what is does have is brilliant a clear sight lines – with the Civic Centre Clocktower, Wyndham Court, Central Station and Southampton Docks all visible at points along the route.
The proposals for creative public realm interventions at Kingsbridge Lane are a direct response to the following:
Preservation of the historic legacy and contextual significance of the local area –
Topography – there is a 9m fall in height from the top of the route to the bottom –
Kingsbridge Lane as a primary pedestrian route today, linking Southampton Station Quarter to the Cultural Quarter, city centre & east to west pedestrian axis –
A practical need to screen existing Network Rail buildings and car park along the southern and northern boundaries of the site –
My work here is an extension of the ‘Canal Shore’ concepts and research underpinning the Station Quarter North Project completed a couple of years earlier in 2016, which I had been involved with since 2012. The text below set out the background of this work.
‘Inspiration, aspiration & delivery…
As project artist, I undertook a detailed investigation into the neighborhood’s social history, geography, ecology and culture to uncover hidden structures, which inform the area’s current form, identity & reputation. This site-specific & research-led activity assisted in driving the creative concept & rationale, which now underpins the general spatial layout, character and interpretation of the new proposals. I worked as part of an integrated design team including Engineers, Landscape Architects, Designers and specialist contractors. This collaborative process allowed me to work creatively, whilst being fully supported by the wider project team.
‘Southampton’s lost district: A landscape rediscovered’
An understanding of the site’s past physical condition drives the overall theme and character of the landscape & public realm interventions: a wooded valley, a meandering stream, the curve of the historic shoreline & the ill fated Southampton & Salisbury Canal. The primary human activities on the site over time, as evidenced by residential, industrial & cultural histories have been influential in drawing individual & collective ‘voices’ from the locality which will serve to imbue any outcomes with a distinctive & renewed sense of place.
This site, adjacent to the shoreline of the Test Estuary has always been a point of confluence. The main route West in & out of the city ran along the shoreline. In medieval times this route along the shore was known and ‘The Strand’. At a point marked by Achards Bridge, which crossed the Rollesbrook Stream to enter the River Test, the city boundary with Millbrook was established.
Today this point is almost exactly opposite the entrance to Southampton Station. Blechynden Terrace is considered to be built along the line of the filled in canal basin of the Southampton & Salisbury Canal. The historic shoreline and the highest point to which the tide rises was along the line of the road.
‘Canal Shore’ developed as a singular response to this research, which is supported by a broader influence, which has pervaded the whole site.
The artwork ‘Canal Shore’ is a consolidation of all that the site has to offer, both contextually and historically. In part it traced the line of the old shoreline & the only East to West route out of the city along the shingle beach from earliest times. It was the route of an ill-fated 19th Century canal. It is now a busy road and part of the transportation network of the city. Its route forms part of the perimeter of our site, so as a single element it has the capacity to help to unify the site and draw other more disparate elements together. The work represents the confluence of both historic and contemporary transportation routes within the city.
The location of the work dictates that it adds a tangible physical presence & value to the site. However, the materials and design are significant too. The black basalt kerb is deliberately large scale & incredibly robust, but has been engineered and designed with a particular aesthetic to blend well with its dual function. It considers traffic flow & movement through the site by allowing for transport access across its width, with elegant dropped kerb sets and large-scale corner quadrants. We have extended the width of the kerb to emphasize its importance as a marker of the historic shoreline of West Bay and the River Test Estuary, but also as a reference to the former Canal coping stone edge. Its function a physical kerb edge on the highway not only indicates that it is fit for purpose, but it deliberately aligns itself to the East to West axis of this transportation and pedestrian route within the City, extending and connecting to existing routes to the Cultural Quarter, QEII Mile and future Maritime Promenade’.
In July 2017 I was commissioned by Guy Topping, Managing Director of the multi award winning Barton Grange Garden Centre in Brock, Preston to design artwork to wrap around the external elevation rain screen of a new mixed use Leisure Centre he was developing to be called The Flower Bowl.I was initially contacted by Jenni Muston of Rockpanelwhose exterior cladding boards were specified for the work. Jenni put me in touch with Guy. I had previously collaborated with Jenni and project Architects HLM, on a project for Sheffield Hallam UniversityCollegiate Campus. The new ‘HEART OF THE CAMPUS’building was completed in 2015. As an award winning Garden Centre, the client was obviously keen to promote its long association with plants, trees and especially with flowers. The artwork is a celebration of flowers, inspired not so much by botanical accuracy, rather the abstract illustrative, super graphic nature of flowers at large scale, exploding like fireworks in celebration across the elevations of the building. The local landscape and textile heritage of Preston also contributed to research and concept development carried out at the Harris Museum.
The artwork was developed for production & manufacture in partnership with The Cutting Room in Huntingdon, with whom I collaborated on the Sheffield Hallam project. I am indebted to them for their commitment to the project. The boards are being installed on site by Aztec Industrial Roofing Ltdunder the project main contractor Truman Design & Build.The installation & handling of the artwork boards on site has been & continues to be excellent.The project Architectural Consultants are WAJW .
When the Rockpanel Board is first cnc cut and installed, the exposed colour is yellow, which fairly quickly weathers to a darker & richer colour.
The Canal Basin here is managed by the Barton Grange Garden Centre.
This new development of 64 Extra Care Apartments at Orchard Park, recently delivered in April this year by The Riverside Group is called ‘Harrison Park’, 100 years after Jack Harrison VC a former Hull FC Rugby League Star was killed at Oppy Wood, Arras, France in 1917 during the First World War.
Today – the 3rd May 2017 marks the day all four Hull Pals Battalions took part on the attack on Oppy Wood.
Southampton Station Quarter North was shortlisted for the 2016 Solent Design Awards, which were awarded in November 2016 – A much needed update on the project. Better late than never !
Although our project was not one of the winners… it was very encouraging that the collaborative approach which delivered the project and the role of our Champions Group, which endured throughout the build programme was recognised via the shortlist process.
‘The Solent Design Awards are all about the encouragement of quality place-making; schemes that create special places, lift communities, create richer experiences … not just iconic buildings, but also the places in-between’.
The following set of images from the site were produced by Wilson Massie of Balfour Beatty Living Places – thanks Wilson !
The artwork ‘Canal Shore’ runs for almost 200m along the South side of Blechynden Terrace. Bespoke extra wide Black Basalt kerbs are inset with white granite text referencing the site.
With thanks to Hardscapefor their excellent collaboration on the ‘Canal Shore’ artwork.