In June 2019 I was issued with early draft plans for the public realm proposals at the Station by LDS Architects on behalf of Winchester City Council. I proposed to add a layer of creative interpretation to these plans, based on my contextual research and employ the setting out detail as a secure foundation into which I could set my public art concept drafts. My proposal was always going to be about utilising the need for paving, seating, retaining walls and other practical details of public realm highways engineering to keep visual clutter at a minimum. This is also more economic in terms of budget use.
Above: The Station building is on the left of this drawing. The plan for the public realm is primarily a sequence of parallel horizontal bands (green) delineated in the paving, which flow downhill from the Station towards City Road and another series which flow uphill along Station Road. However, this base geometry is combined with a radial pattern (also in green) which expresses the radius curve in the highway as it transitions from Station Road to Station Hill. This radial pattern provides the anchor for a series of seats (red) and secondary barrier structures (blue).
Above: This concept study shows a series of interrelated structures – which could be seating, walls, barrier structures or paving – set out in a radial pattern. These forms are presented as interpretive devices which exhibit combinations of materials and motifs, which embody ideas and responses developed from the contextual research I have undertaken.
Above: The Winchester Bible is regarded as the largest & finest 12th century Illuminated Manuscript. The script is by the hand of a single monk scribe from Winchester. However, the magnificent illuminations were often drawn and painted by itinerant artists – lay professionals who travelled between monasteries and centres of learning. These Illuminated Initials have been inspirational, as has the Morley Library, of which the Winchester Bible is a part. Bishop George Morley bequeathed his collection of rare books to the Cathedral in the 17th Century. His collection is monogrammed.
Above: Polished flint terrazzo circle with inset letter ‘W’ in Swedish Marble with sandblasted detail, resin bonded in white.
Above: Plan study of a monolithic sandstone bench with inset letter W and Circle motifs in flint aggregate terrazzo. Below: Sandstone & Flint are primary building materials in Winchester.
“Of particular interest is the ledger stone of Francisca Clobery, the daughter of Sir John Clobery. She died in 1683 and her grave is in the south aisle of the Retrochoir, in front of her father’s monument. It is of a distinctive Ordovician limestone (around 465 million years ago) from the Island of Öland, Sweden, containing the straight-shelled Nautiloid.” from ‘Winchester Stone’ by Dr John Parker 2016. ‘John Parker studied geology at Birmingham and Cambridge universities. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London. For over 30 years he worked as an exploration geologist for Shell around the world. He has lived in Winchester since 1987. On retirement he trained to be a Cathedral guide’. John has personally shown me around the Cathedral and pointed out many geologic wonders and quirks.
Above: Studies for objects (seating) in Timber, Sandstone and Swedish Marble employing techniques of inlay, lamination, polishing and sandblasting.
Above: Study for two benches in monolithic black Tournai Marble with inlay detail and laminated stone extensions of Swedish Marble.
I hope to investigate manufacturing process which allow stone to be cut, laminated, decorated and finished in a manner which embodies the richness of the Cathedral interiors – BUT – in a functional manner, either as seating etc or as a method of wayfinding.
Always a relief to see projects get to this stage ! The printing has started ! Swift Signs in Weymouth are now in production of the glazing vinyl artworks for the Radiotherapy Outpatients Unit. Install is scheduled for next week. Watch this space !
Have you ever thought what is up there, caught between the vaulted ceiling and the external roof? It was this hidden void in the attic, described as a forest , which so disastrously burned at Notre Dame in April this year. On Wednesday 19th June this year I ventured up the Tower of Winchester Cathedral to reach the same space. I have really wanted to venture into this cavernous space – between the 14th & 15th Century vaulted nave we see in the image above and the original massive timbered roof – for years. This timbered structure is what pilgrims and locals would have seen & looked up into prior to the nave being constructed. It is the most amazing floating world – a void – a medieval secret.
This is the timber walkway inside the void space, which sits atop the massive oak beams which cross the nave . The walkway disappears into the bell tower and Norman part of the Cathedral. Images do not do this space justice. This is the longest Cathedral nave in Europe. The Lierne Vaulted Ceiling lies just below the cross beam timbers.
‘The cathedral possesses the only diatonic ring of fourteen church bells in the world. The back twelve were all cast by John Taylor & Co in 1937. They were augmented to fourteen when two new bells were added in 1992 by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. One bell was cast by Anthony Bond, an itinerant Founder in 1621.’ Wikipedia Ref
This image – above – shows Norman stone carving high up in the Bell Tower. Quite amazing to get so close to it.
Here are a few images of the final artworks – it may help to know that any white used in the design does not print – and remains completely clear – bringing the outside in and extending the impact of the work to the external landscape beyond the clinical spaces. The colours also vary in transparency and opacity, so do not appear anywhere near as flat and opaque as they do in the artwork – which is a good thing right? I thinks so…
The top and bottom screen elevations work together as two adjacent spaces, where the designs overlap. Anything printed white here is actually completely clear and does not print. so you could imagine these two images combining with the external landscape.
Mid-September and it was up to Hardscape, Bolton to see progress on the manufacture of the bespoke inlaid granite paving units. As ever, the works are of a really high quality and Hardscape are always keen to progress & test their creative collaborations.
15 granite units are in production. These vary in size from 1200mm x 400mm x 75mm to 900mm x 300mm x 75mm and are destined to be installed at the thresholds to housing & apartment blocks at Rochester.
This work is achieved via water jet cutting and inlay techniques using colour matched resin to bond granite elements in place. Text and other motifs are also sandblasted at varying depths.
OK, so I am revisiting the early stages of the project…having NOT had the time to document progress on here. These early drafts and drawings were completed in June this year. Based upon contextual research and concept design development for the generation of the interpretive public art elements at Winchester Station. Several versions of this initial research have been submitted for discussion and comment. There are still some areas I would love to tap into, but for the moment I am awaiting a final briefing to focus the work. The same goes for materials research. Excited by the prospect of working with some amazing manufacturers…but have to hold off for now.
These early drafts considered an ‘all-over’ repeating pattern for natural paving, influenced by the Cathedral’s extant medieval inlaid ceramic floor tiles – and used here as a super-graphic motif. At this time I was not responding to any masterplan landscape proposals from the clients Architects and Urban Planners LDS – as these had not yet been circulated. The ideas were formulated in response to my own research in the city and now form the foundations of my project approach.
The building stones of Winchester are hugely influential when looking at the interpretation of place and the significance of the Station as a gateway to the City. Although granite has been used here, local sandstones and limestones with flint and brick dominate.
The architectural scale of the Station buildings warrant a softer frame with regard to paving. Sandstone fits this bill. Granite is perhaps too corporate and ubiquitous for this site.
The City has a strong tradition of procession and pilgrimage, which reinforces notions of way finding and direction, arrival and departure, as well as the physical experience of walking and the materials you are walking upon.
Formalities aside, it was a great day and I was very touched and proud to have been involved in the project . The weather was pretty glorious on the day – so the glazing appeared at its very best., reflecting perfectly off the pool surface and creating the most beautiful backdrop for the day’s events. Positive comments all round was a great sign that the project had been a collaborative & creative success. A massive thanks to Art at the Heart and especially to the efforts of Hetty Dupays, Art and Design Manager and her brilliant team.
Early beginnings…outlines…some thoughts and notes –
Actually, this project was commissioned in May 2019 by Winchester City Council . The brief called for creative & contextual research with which to frame a concept-led draft scope for the inclusion of public art & interpretation within the Carfax development masterplan, focussing on the Station and approaches. The client Architectural & Urban Planning consultants LDS Architects had already been commissioned to develop a Masterplan Framework & Public Realm for the Station Approach site, which has since been made public & my work may eventually be embedded into this scheme or influence the final detailed design for the public realm.
As a creative research-led project I have set out to celebrate the City of Winchester’s rich cultural history by examining its use of specific materials, decoration & craft skills within its architectural legacy and built landscape, with a particular emphasis on Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest Cathedrals in Europe.
The Station is the Gateway to the City, once the Anglo Saxon capital under Alfred the Great. As a Gateway the Station and its surrounding external environment should be above all else welcoming. The public realm is required to deliver this. It can also give visual expression, via its landscape, materials and detail to what may be discovered by visitors moving beyond the Station. The Cathedral, for example cannot be seen when arriving by train, when, by contrast the Cathedrals of both Bath and Durham present their magnificent architecture from afar.
This is still early days in research and concept development. No doubt this project will shape-shift considerably along the way.
People come from around the world to visit
5 million arrivals and departures recorded
in 2018 –
What should this Gateway communicate about Winchester?
The Cathedral ?
Cathedral was founded in 1079 – it is an astonishing 940 years old & we can still walk around it in the
footsteps of countless others. The whole building was completed in the form we
see & experience today in the 16th Century. The spectacular Nave
in Perpendicular Gothic with Lierne Vaulting was completed in the 14th
& 15th Centuries. The carved oak Quire Stalls
were created between 1306 and 1309. We know who carved them & we know who
‘In the Christian Medieval world, this ‘arrival’ was rewarded through the sheer brilliance & breath-taking fusion of art & architecture as seen in the form of the Cathedral. This building was clearly at the heart of Winchester and England. It was the house of God and widely interpreted as the gate of Heaven, a world-renowned centre of pilgrimage, education & religious life’.
CONCEPT: to explore some the materials that built Winchester and, in doing so, reinforce their importance and role in communicating the cultural significance of the city. Rare & bespoke materials and craft can reflect this. These materials connect us to the past, the present & the future.
Manufacturing and contemporary methods – crafts fused with the latest technology.
Reflect the ingenuity and importance of the craftsmen & master masons of the age of Cathedrals. Illuminated Manuscript Illustrators and Master Masons were itinerant specialists – often travelling continually between great building projects.
I am also influenced by the on-going work to maintain and secure historical structures. Cathedral Masons repair and replace stonework. Over time, this must lead to substantial renewal. This concept of gradual change and renewal is of great interest.
For Example: Solid or monolithic blocks used as primary public art sculptural artwork benches within the current forecourt plan submitted by LDS Architects – with secondary barrier benches in another repeating style.
OPTIONS: creative thinking out loud ! Materials could include…
OAK – inspired by the massive oak timbers in the cathedral roof & bell tower and the brilliance of the carving in the Quire Stalls.
TOURNAI MARBLE – The beautiful 12th Century font – see below – sculpted from a single massive block of blue black carboniferous limestone, known as “Tournai marble“, was quarried from the banks of the River Scheldt’ & brought from Tournai in modern day Belgium. These were extremely rare and highly prized medieval luxury items. The natural stone is 135 million years old.
Bench Three: SWEDISH MARBLE – see below – this was considered an exotic imports from the Baltic states & illustrates the connectedness of Winchester to other places through trade and pilgrimage. This ledger stone is for Francisca Clobery, the daughter of Sir John Clobery. She died in 1683 and her grave is in the south aisle of the Retrochoir, in front of her father’s monument. Sir John was a 17th Century Merchant with connections to Europe.
Alfred the Great twice went on pilgrimage to Rome, the first time as a young boy in 853AD. I can’t but wonder if he had seen the Pantheon & the astonishing interiors of marble clad walls and polished patterned floors?
GLASS – The huge medieval stained glass West Window was smashed by Cromwell’s forces in 1642, but the fragmented remnants were gathered together and the window eventually restored maintaining the fragmented style.
CAST IRON – GUN METAL – Jewell & Son, City Foundry, between Middle and Lower Brook Street in Winchester was owned by the Jewell family and made components for the GWR Railways Winchester to Newbury Line. It was one of several iron foundries in the city. The coming of the railway and the ensuing Victorian Industrial Revolution brought massive change and population growth to the city. On each of the bells of the Cathedral it is recorded that it was ‘Recast by John Taylor and Co., Loughborough, 1937’. John
TERRAZZO – a fusion of fragmented materials with the
ARCHITECTURAL CERAMIC – Much of Winchester is built of brick and tile, with clay locally sourced and manufactured & fired often close to the site. The Cathedral has an extant 13th Century pavement of inlaid ceramic including many beautifully reproduced in the 1960’s.
GRANITE – Granite is not a historic building material in Winchester, nonetheless it does appear in various forms within the city centre. however, For example, the plinth for for the statue of Alfred on the Broadway (1901) is made of granite. Brought by rail from Penryn in Cornwall , at the time they were the largest blocks of granite ever moved – and processioned by steam tractor through the streets of Winchester – at the height of the second Industrial Revolution and Victorian pomp.
FLINT – a quintessential Winchester material.
These materials could be treated in the following ways:
could be cut, laminated and re-cut to present a geological and
decorative expression – using the latest manufacturing technology. Surfaces can
be inlaid, laser etched, sandblasted or textured to provide variety and
narrative. Objects can be cast, moulded or carved.
Lines & intersections within the general forecourt paving scheme suggest way-finding & direction but are also resonant of the magnificent Cathedral Lierne Vaulting, a high point in Gothic Architecture & engineering skill – the crossing and interweaving of stone vaulting providing the myriad crossing points and junctions for decorated bosses. Within the Station forecourt and approaches, these paving lines will intersect, at which point more focussed detail could be embedded in the form of robust but beautifully finished granite or cast iron units. These lines extend outwards from the Station Forecourt up Station Road and down Station Hill. I would propose to extend interventions and interpretive artwork in this direction to encourage the preferred pedestrian routes.
& Decoration seen throughout Winchester and fused into an
astonishingly beautiful form in the Cathedral
reflects the local & natural world of flora and fauna, alongside the
non-secular world of Christianity and faith. I am inspired by the brilliance of
illustrated manuscripts, such as the Winchester Bible & Botanical
Manuscripts held in the Cathedral Library and Archive. Fragmented details of
these motifs could be used to animate the forecourt and Gateway, but also to
give clues to visitors and locals alike as to what may be found within the
Secondary Barrier features nearest to the highway could all be in the same material – granite or sandstone. Reinforced concrete base structure could be stone clad or be used as an immoveable base / foundation.
The fusing of architectural styles, which
in turn create a legible & experiential timeline over hundreds of years in
the Cathedral is an on-going inspiration.
Conduited Water flowing under the City
Streams and Rivers and Water Meadows –
Communicate this concept – Beauty, architectural and cultural heritage,
technology, creativity found in the City of Winchester using a palette of
resonant and contextually intriguing materials, textures and narrative (tell
good stories!) –
I am also researching the following:
Brewery & Reservoirs on the Carfax Site –
business and inhabitants of Station Hill, Station Road and Gresham
Mill – A
700 years old Water Mill demolished in 1966 with massive oak timbers and cast
iron machinery made locally –
Winchester City Mill
Guild processions held on Corpus Christi by the Catholic Church –
Jewell, City Iron Foundry, Winchester –
William Walker – Deep Water Diver & Cathedral Saviour
Site specific and local details can reflect smaller influences – the lives and livelihoods of local people and what they did etc. It is important to acknowledge the whole community its diversity.
I am creating options for paving, seating, edges, retaining structures and kerbs –
‘Purbeck marble was extensively used for grave markers and grave stones (ledger stones). Later, large black ledger stones of Tournai marble were very much in fashion. Of particular interest is the ledger stone of Francisca Cloberij (sic), the daughter of Sir John Clobery. She died in 1683 and her grave is in the south aisle of the Retrochoir, in front of her father’s monument. It is of a distinctive Ordovician limestone (around 465 million years ago) from the Island of Öland, Sweden, containing the straight-shelled Nautiloid, Orthoceras’. It is something of an anomaly, but intriguing nonetheless.
I have made several visits to
Winchester to consult with specialists, with particular relevance to the
Cathedral. I have walked the streets, and routes into the City and experienced
the crossing points and have undertaken my own creative site analysis. I have
ongoing research threads with the City and with a number of suppliers and
manufacturers. I have consulted with the Hampshire Archive Services and the
Winchester City Trust.
I have meetings arranged with the Cathedral Archivist and Librarian and
also with the Cathedral Stonemason.
If possible, I would like to collaborate with the Stone Mason in the production
of one of the benches.
Drafts and sketches for the digitally printed glazing vinyl artwork for the ground floor Radiotherapy Unit of the Robert White Cancer Centre are now in progress in the studio. At this stage, the drafts are for comment and discussion and the final design work will be tailored in response to this process.
Inspired by Jurassic plant fossils, such as Cycads, Tree Ferns, Magnolias, Monkey Puzzle and Gingko, the ideas are developing by way of a distinct colour palette and abstract pattern-making too, as well as looking to incorporate and blend in with the glazing artworks of the Outpatient Unit on the first floor, which were completed late in December 2018. Although the two floors deliver independent services via Poole Hospital and Dorset County Hospitals, it is important that from the outside particularly, the artwork links the two floors and presents a united front elevation to all those visiting & working on this site. The Jurassic Coastand the Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens, have both been influential. The coastal geology has been a particular fascination, with stones and fossils being very much the theme of the first floor Outpatients department.
‘Frieze collaborates with Tate Britain, the National Gallery, RCA, Sketch Gallery and ICA on the 2017 marketing campaign. From contemporary concepts to Renaissance painting, we have worked with important cultural institutions to create the campaigns for Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2017. Showcasing striking design and beautiful floors around London. Photography by Luke Hayes with Art Direction by Amy Preston’. Frieze London 2017.
I was delighted to see my work featured in the Frieze London 2017 Marketing Campaign. My in-situ polychrome terrazzo and cut marble floor was quietly celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary in 2017, since it was commissioned by the RCA for the main entrance and reception of the new Darwin Building in 1987. The work was manufactured and installed by Diespeker & Co. I worked closely throughout in collaboration with Diespeker’s and the RCA. As stated – I was surprised and delighted to see it featured again in this way.
I recently made contact with the Photographer Luke Hayesto enquire about any other images he may have of the work, which didn’t make the original campaign. He has generously allowed me access to these images, which I reproduce here with his kind permission. I have very few images myself – and no digital images – and appear to have very little by way of documentation. I graduated from the RCA in 1985 and I think I was commissioned whilst I was still a post-grad student in Ceramics. This makes some sense, as the design for the floor was very much an extension of the work I was doing in ceramics, which was focussed on Architectural form and decoration. I was pretty amazed to see it was still in such good condition. Terrazzo is an amazing material and I have used it- rather sporadically I admit – throughout my career and had the pleasure of working alongside some amazing craftspeople at Diespeker’s and Pallam Precast, now part of Quality Marble.
Above: From what I can recall, this (poor quality) image was taken just after the final grinding & completion of the floor by Diespeker’s. It hadn’t been cleaned or polished and was very dusty – just like me in the image.
Between 1985 / 87 during the delivery of this project, I had no access to digital processes or computers – although they had recently started to appear at the RCA. The original artwork was hand drawn and painted in gouache. Templates for the timber formwork were first drawn up full scale and processed in the RCA’s timber workshops on Jay Mews. I suppose what it did, was reinforce the hand made and craft process associated with the manufacture of the work. I do remember sanding off the tip of one of my fingers in the workshop. I had so little money in those post student days, that I also recall walking all the way from Terrazzo manufacturer Diespeker’s old premises at Diespeker Wharf Wharf, Islington, back to my old studio at Loughborough Junction on Coldharbour Lane, South London, carrying a pile of terrazzo samples.
Below: Really interesting to work briefly with Luke’s images to re-imagine some new designs for the same floor. Digital processes we have instantly available in minutes today would have taken me days to produce similar painted patterns in 1987.