Tag Archives: Community

All the RRR’s…

ROCHESTER RIVERSIDE

RESEARCH – REGENERATION – RECLAMATION – RECYCLE – REMINISCENCE – REVEAL – REPLACE – RESONATE

RE-USE

The Rochester Riverside development aims to deliver 489 homes in Phases 1, 2 & 3. The first show homes are scheduled to be ready by September 2018. I have been researching and developing ideas to embed some of the social & industrial legacy from this site into the new build homes and apartments & not forgetting a new community which is being delivered. The site has a treasure trove of layered history to uncover fed by its unique position between Rochester and  River Medway.

Intertidal Salt Marsh

Tithe Lands

St Nicholas Parish Rochester 

Livestock Grazing

Clay & Mud

Market Gardens

Oyster Fishery

Gas Works

Ship & Barge Building

Iron Foundry

Coal Factors

Coal Depot

Railway Goods Yard

Scrap Metal Merchants

Wharfs

Cranes

Locomotives

Aggregates

Cement

By 2006 almost all the site had been cleared for re-development.

I have to find a way to be creative with the public art budget and to produce high quality, robust interventions, capable of withstanding the wear and tear of a contemporary urban space. My approach to this project has been to work with a series of 2.4m high brick walls, which form the entrances to parking courts on the Central Streets of Phase 1 & 2. I am also embedding work into the threshold entrances of six apartment blocks and numerous private houses throughout the site. Materials being investigated at this stage include granite, cast concrete, cast iron, architectural ceramic & brick. The concept drawings shown below are all subject to change, revision, omission – all the usual ups and downs of project development.

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for brick walls. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for brick walls. Image: Christopher Tipping

These early concept drawings explore the various combinations of narrative elements which could be developed further. They are rather overstuffed with ideas at this stage – far too many to deliver – but are beginning to explore the legacy of the site via stories created by combining strands of research. Visiting menageries share space with Iron Foundry production and mud and clay trades carried out on the site. The elephant would be sandblasted into the brick surface, whilst adjacent panels of cast iron with relief detail and glazed brick units and polished granite are embedded into the brick structure.

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for brick walls. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside. Artist Concept. Cast Iron Units to footpaths. Artwork Draft Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Cast Iron proposals are being developed in collaboration with Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax.

Rochester Riverside. Artist Concept. Cast Iron Unit to brick walls. Artwork Draft Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside. Artist Concept. Draft cast iron units to brick walls and paving. Artwork Drafts Only Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite paving units with inset text. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite paving units with inset text. Image: Christopher Tipping

The proposals for granite paving units with inset granite text are being explored in collaboration with Hardscape. 

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for architectural ceramic units with low relief text & pattern. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Architectural Ceramic proposals are being developed in collaboration with Darwen Terracotta & Faience

 

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite & cast iron paving units with low relief text & pattern. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite & cast iron paving units with low relief text & pattern. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke balcony balustrade detail with pattern inspired by the Gas Works. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke balcony balustrade detail with pattern inspired by the Gas Works. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke Front Door & Garage Doors treatment. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke Front Door & Garage Doors treatment. Image: Christopher Tipping

Some Chatham Words

You may have seen some of our work embedded into the streetscape along Railway Street. Large scale granite kerbs contain words sandblasted or inlaid into the surface. You may wonder what these words mean, or how they relate to you. Here is a short explanation of how they came about. 

We often talk about words having weight – of text being ‘set in stone’… or ’engraved in stone’…suggesting gravitas, importance, longevity, …we all like a funny ‘one liner’…colloquial, local…distinct Chatham voices…

Well, here in Chatham your words really are being set in stone…for all to read…for years to come –

Chatham Placemaking Project. “A Chatham Barber called Long John…”. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project. “Colin carried coal…”. Image: Christopher Tipping. Words: Rob Young

You may know that the aim of this public realm project was to upgrade the route from Chatham Station to the Waterfront. This includes pedestrian and cycle routes as well as crossing points, upgrading paving materials, improving steps and ramps, opening up the public realm and streamlining access and pedestrian permeability. This work was driven by Francis Knight, Public Art Consultants & our project collaborators and consultants to Medway Council, LDA Design and Project Centre. 

We have worked within these parameters, using the language of public realm and materials, which are robust and stand the test of time. We have created a quiet ‘narrative’ thread – a story about Chatham –  & more specifically about events and places along this route.

We wanted the streets to speak quietly, confidently & with good humour about Chatham…WHAT MAKES A TOWN ?…THESE ARE OUR STREETS…part memorial, part living voice…but mostly a celebration of the rich heritage and community of Chatham.

Chatham Placemaking Project. 57 Submarines.
Image: Christopher Tipping.

As an artist and designer of public spaces, this project has been an opportunity to influence our surroundings in a way that ‘speaks’ of Chatham and its people. We mostly take our pavements for granted, but these spaces have often developed from historic pathways and tracks linking communities and towns across the wider region. They have a resonance and a ‘voice’, …and echo with history. 

The route from the Station to the Waterfront takes us down Railways Street & Military Road – in doing so we pass several key places, such as New Cut ( a former farmyard), St John’s ( a Grade II Listed Waterloo Church) – Military Square, considered the Heart of the Town. At these important sites, we have made interventions to articulate the granite kerb in ways which are expressive and of interest, whilst still maintaining functionality.

We were keen to hear and to record everyday voices …words spoken by ordinary people – such as ‘the girl who cried when she lost her phone and then cried again when she found it’... ‘the lovey barmaid’ …or ‘Colin, the man who carried coal for charity’…these are the voices of people on the street, passers by, people shopping & passing the time of day. We engaged with people directly in conversation, we overheard the conversations of others, we wrote down and recorded stories and anecdotes we were told.

I was very fortunate to collaborate with other artists on this project. Filmmaker Simon Williams succinctly and with an understated eye for visual language and movement, cleverly framed our project parameters and vision in a series of short films, whilst printmaker Xtina Lamb rendered our architectural vision into graphic patterns & motifs used throughout the scheme. Both artists also live in Chatham, bringing their individual & unique perspectives to play. However, it was the award winning writer Rob Young, who contributed significantly to the embedded text. An astute, profound and funny wordsmith with an ability to engage anyone and everyone, turning their words into poetry along the way.

“The knitter. Whose name is Pearl.

The woman. Who uses the word ‘like?’ As like, punctuation?

The woman. Who said sorry. When you’re the one who pushed in.

The woman. Who draws breath. Then monologues. For an hour.

The waiter. Who had a fling. With a Bride. At her wedding.

The girl. Who cried. All day. When she lost her phone. Then cried again. When she found it.

The boy. Whose Mum. Made him take back the sweets. That he stole.

The man. Who says, I’m mad, me. Who isn’t mad, at all. Just lonely”. Rob Young 2016

 

 

Justin Coe, a poet and writer also contributed, animatedly performing his work directly to camera, whilst walking the route in a film by Simon Williams.

Film still image of Poet & Writer Justin Coe performing his work on Military Road, Chatham. Image: Simon Williams

 

“On his way to his first day of school on Rome Lane

(The name of this road – before the trains came)

And while we’re walking with Dickens – observe the new Church

They’ve called it St Johns. And it will soon be the first

Public building in Chatham lit by electricity!…

Though all the lights went out here by the end of last century…” Justin Coe 2016

 

Local school children & people working in local businesses were asked for their comments. We listened to them & heard their stories. We listened to the sound of their lives. There is an overwhelming sense of common ownership in this project. These words are not ours. They belong to Chatham.

We referenced times past by collaborating with MALSC (Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre) and other local agencies in searching for site specific text, such as the words of famous visitors & local Luminaries such as Charles Dickens, reminiscing about soldiers marching through the town in regimented rows …’

The oversized granite kerbs we have used here become a metaphor for the continuity of the local community – kerbs being critical in holding roads and pavements in place – they are physically important in maintaining the fabric of our environment –they could almost be described as ‘defensive structures’ maintaining the integrity and safety of our public spaces …reminiscent of the Chatham Lines – the historic defensive structures, forts and earthworks, which offered protection to the people of Medway & especially the Chatham Dockyard …

The granite kerb acts as a threshold between various states …of the pedestrian…and the driver, or moving fast or slow – perceptions of safety & danger…often the original granite kerb is often the only thing left in place when pavements and roads have been re-placed or modernised throughout recent history…the kerb maintains the parameters of how public spaces were managed and maintained. These lines of granite are also ‘our other Chatham Lines…’

More of the kerbstone lies buried beneath the surface than on top of it… and so it is also a rather poignant link between the past and the present…where times and events past lie buried beneath out feet –

Chatham Placemaking Project – granite kerbs being installed on Railway Street. Image: Christopher Tipping

Our work in Chatham set out to find and hear voices and words which quietly & evocatively create a sense of place associated with each of our stopping points on the route from the Station to the Paddock… the power of these voices is amplified by the weight and mass of the monolithic granite.

Left in place, these words will still be here in a hundred years from now…

 

Margate Steps – A look back in time

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.

MARGATE STEPS CONTEXTUAL RESEARCH DOCUMENT 1

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – Contextual Research Text Image: Christopher Tipping

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – Contextual Research Text Image: Christopher Tipping

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – Contextual Research Text Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – Towards Turner Contemporary May 2013. Image: Christopher Tipping

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.

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – lunch al fresco May 2013. Image: Christopher Tipping

Client: TDC & Margate Renewal Partnership. Engineers: East Kent Engineering PracticeLandscape Architects and Urban Designers: Jacobs. Contractor: BreheneySpecialist Concrete Pre Cast: CCP Cornish Concrete Products.

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.

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – evening light March 2013. Image: Christopher Tipping

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.

Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme – The New King’s Stairs May 2013. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – PROPOSALS

I haven’t updated this post for some time – actually since April 2017!  Head down and just getting on with it …time flies. OK – I’ll now try to sum up what’s happened in the interim.

Following on from the initial research period, consultation & creative engagement phases of the project, a series of Creative Public Realm proposals were submitted for review. This work originated and was inspired by the positive & creative collaboration with our supporting artists in residence, Rob Young – Writer, Simon Williams – Filmmaker and Xtina Lamb – Printmaker.   These collaborations proved to be highly creative as well as bringing a refreshing camaraderie and friendship to the work.

The proposals are presented here in the order in which the various sites are encountered along the route from Chatham Station down Railway Street to Military Road and the Waterfront. This is a visual account of how ideas developed and adopted into the scheme.

Chatham Station, although at the head of our scheme, will be the last Phase to be delivered on the ground & I will report on this work later in a separate post.

The sites where our work and interventions has been focussed are:

 

NEW CUT & NEW ROAD VIADUCT

ST JOHN’S SQUARE

LOWER RAILWAY STREET

MILITARY SQUARE 

MILITARY ROAD

Chatham Placemaking Project. Route & Plan of Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Red Line indicates our project route & is titled the ‘Chatham Line’, after the Chatham Lines, the nearby defensive fortifications.  The lines follow the historic granite kerb line & will be replaced in relevant sections by bespoke wide

granite kerbs and special transition granite units often with sandblasted or inset granite text. Text is based upon the surrounding local historic legacy & community engagement work & narrative developed by our writer in residence, Rob Young.

AREA 2 – NEW CUT 

New Cut – Plan of Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & Draft Plan of Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite kerb units. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite kerb units. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite & timber seating. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite kerb units. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke enamel panels below the balustrade, welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

As with most projects, not all ideas and proposals succeed.Budget limitations, critical rigour and often the subjective nature of the collaborative creative process all bring issues to bear in deciding what is destined to be built on site and what is left in the studio !

 

New Cut – New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke enamel panels below the balustrade, welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut & New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke lighting scheme welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut & New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke enamel panels under the bridge, welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

The approach to the materiality and scale of St John’s Square & elsewhere along our route, was influenced by the architectural & industrial heritage of the Historic Chatham Dockyard.

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

This monolithic detail seen above was titled ‘The Submarine’, inspired by HMS OCELOT on display at Chatham Historic Dockyard . This sculptural form was to act as a dividing feature separating two flights of steps at different levels.

I didn’t make it through the final evaluation process…

HMS OCELOT, Chatham Historic Dockyard. Image: Christopher Tipping

HMS OCELOT, Chatham Historic Dockyard. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping & Hardscape

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke yellow enamel cast iron bollards & landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Research Image of Ropery Artefacts. Draft proposals for bespoke yellow enamel cast iron bollards & landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

LOWER RAILWAY STREET & MILITARY SQUARE

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square is a major pedestrian intersection in Chatham, at the crossroads between Railway Street, Military Road and the High Street.

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

THE CIRCLE IN THE SQUARE 

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

Chatham Rail Station

Thursday 10th March 2016

The guiding principles for the Chatham Placemaking Project, as outlined in the proposals developed by LDA Design, Francis Knight and myself as Lead Artist can be summed up in the following brief statements –

Getting Around – To create an easier journey for commuters and visitors from the Station to the Town Centre and Waterfront, with more shared space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Identity – Chatham is a great destination. Use the collective experience of the local community to tell this story. Use the Maritime and Military History of Chatham to tell this story. Chatham’s Historic Dockyard starts as you step off the train! How is this made obvious?

Destination – What is the experience of visitors to Chatham who arrive by train? This visitor experience is critical, so too is the daily experience of commuters and residents. We hope to deliver bold, attractive and contemporary changes which welcomes and enhances this journey.

This process clearly starts at the Station. Click on this link to Vimeo for a short film – 

 

Chatham Railway Station 2015 - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station 2015 – Image: Christopher Tipping

Walking to Chatham Station - a pedestrian experience. Image: Christopher Tipping

Walking to Chatham Station – a pedestrian experience. Image: Christopher Tipping

At peak times – and throughout the day, pedestrians have to navigate a series of crossing points and narrow pavements with poor way finding to reach the Station. This is also the same experience coming from the Station. An adjacent bus hub stop and heavy traffic flow, make this a demanding environment for pedestrians and cyclists alike. A much more sympathetic environment is being proposed within this regeneration programme.

 

 

 

 

 

‘1479 plates’, Combe Down Stone Mines 2010

In December 2008 I was commissioned, along with a number of other artists, to respond to the Combe Down Stone Mines Stabilisation Project, which was nearing completion after a 10 year engineering led programme.

'1479 plates' at The Octagon, Bath.

‘1479 plates’ at The Octagon, Bath.    Image: Kevin Fern

Exterior of The Octagon, Bath

Exterior of The Octagon, Bath

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'1479 plates' at The Octagon, Bath. November 2009

‘1479 plates’ at The Octagon, Bath. November 2009

One of 788 Bone China plates produced for the installation.

One of 788 Bone China plates produced for the installation.

'1479 plates', The Octagon, Bath. Private View.

‘1479 plates’, The Octagon, Bath. Private View.   Image by ZED.

The Combe Down Stone Mines Project was a major project by Bath & North East Somerset Council to stabilise abandoned limestone mine workings in Combe Down and preserve the Health & Safety of the area. The aim of the Project was to remove the current threat to life and property of those living, working in and travelling through the Combe Down area. Collapse of the old mines, which in some instances, lay just metres beneath the surface, was a real possibility. In doing this, the Project ensured that the internationally recognised heritage, wildlife and environmental properties of the area were conserved for future generations.

The Combe Down Stone Mines Stabilisation Project was finally completed in 2010, with 25 hectares of very shallow limestone mines flooded with approximately 600,000 cubic metres of foamed concrete, the largest project of its kind in the world. Over the preceding 200 years some 700 houses had been built over the mines from which the stone was extracted to build Georgian Bath.

The project site of Combe Down, a village on the outskirts of Bath, falls within the World Heritage Site of Bath.

 

The installation work ‘1479 plates’, was exhibited at The Octagon, an 18th Century Chapel in Bath,  and featured a map of 788 bone china dinner plates , which explores the relationship between present day engineering and mining technology, stone mines heritage, natural history, and two 18th century entrepreneurs Ralph Allen and Josiah Wedgwood. The work was created in collaboration with ‘Autonomatic’ – 3D Digital Research Cluster at University College Falmouth. The plates were displayed on a curving monolithic wall, redolent of the architectural terraces in Bath, built with the stone from the mines. The exhibition was constructed and managed by REM, Richmond Event Management.

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A collection of plates from the 788 which made up the installation.

A collection of plates from the 788 which made up the installation.  Image: Portia Wilson

691 households affected by the stabilisation works were gifted a ceramic plate – one small part of the map – representing not only the individual household but the mining underworld beneath it. Following their display at The Octagon, the original 788 dinner plates were donated to form a large scale permanent installation in Combe Down village at some point in the future.

The arts project team was managed and led by Consultants Frances Lord and Steve Geliot.

Art Consultants: Frances Lord and Steve Geliot

‘1479 plates’ budget: £54,000.00

 Client:Bath & North East Somerset Council funded by the Homes and Communities Agency, formerly English Herirage. https://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/combe-down-stone-mines

Agencies: Project Managers: Provelio. Main Contractors: Hydrock & Scott Wilson. Specialist Consultants: Oxford Archaeology, ‘Autonomatic’ & Digital Ceramics.