Some brilliant new images of my project for the new Macmillan Unit at Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust have come to light. It is always refreshing to see how others see your work & the space it was created for. In this instance I was very kindly given permission by Mike Hearle, European Digital Marketing Manager for Construction Specialties – to use images from their website. Construction Specialities supplied and installed the solid timber handrails running through the unit. Take a look …the artwork was digitally printed and installed by VGL. The project was delivered by IBI Group Architects and Willis Newson, the UK’s leading arts and health consultancy.
RESEARCH – REGENERATION – RECLAMATION – RECYCLE – REMINISCENCE – REVEAL – REPLACE – RESONATE
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
St Nicholas Parish Rochester
Clay & Mud
Ship & Barge Building
Railway Goods Yard
Scrap Metal Merchants
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.
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.
Cast Iron proposals are being developed in collaboration with Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax.
The proposals for granite paving units with inset granite text are being explored in collaboration with Hardscape.
Architectural Ceramic proposals are being developed in collaboration with Darwen Terracotta & Faience
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 –
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.
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.
“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 –
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…
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.
Client: TDC & Margate Renewal Partnership. Engineers: East Kent Engineering Practice. Landscape Architects and Urban Designers: Jacobs. Contractor: Breheney. Specialist 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.
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.
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
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
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 !
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.
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…
LOWER RAILWAY STREET & MILITARY SQUARE
Military Square is a major pedestrian intersection in Chatham, at the crossroads between Railway Street, Military Road and the High Street.
THE CIRCLE IN THE SQUARE
Wednesday 3rd May 2017
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.
This event & others relating to WW1 are remembered on the 14-18-NOW WW! CENTENARY ART COMMISSIONS website.
A Pinterest Board of research images about Orchard Park and its history, can be found here.
Hull is currently celebrating City of Culture 2017 status, so there is much to do and see there ! –
Friday 10th March 2017 – Final installation of the glazing vinyls at Harrison Park, Hull.
VGL have done an amazing job – as ever – collaborating with me through detailed design / design for production / sampling / revisions / and final installation. A big thanks to them !
I have also been supported throughout the project by Andrew Knight of RKL Consultants who developed and delivered the Arts Strategy for all three Extra Care Facilities being built in Hull.
Harrison Park, Hall Road, Hull
An Extra Care Facility by Riverside
Click on this link HARRISON PARK, HALL ROAD CREATIVE CONTEXTUAL DOCUMENT to view the research based contextual concept draft for the project –
The Glazing Vinyl Artworks are presented as a series of abstract & figurative elements based upon a number of historic land maps, including the 1816 plan of Cottingham Common showing historic field patterns, each of which is annotated with the names of the individual landowner and /or tenant farmer.
The Inclosure Act of 1766 transformed this ill-drained common meadow and pasture, which was subject to seasonal flooding from the tidal River Hull, into a landscape of sluices, dykes, drains and ditches, the names of which, will be familiar to many of you now.
The 1886 hand drawn map of Coldharbour Farm, on North Carr Lane -now Orchard Park Road, in the collection of the Hull History Centre, shows the individual fields held by the tenant farmer, which were farmed until the new estate was built in 1963. This new building on Hall Road, part of the Orchard Park Estate, sits within the original boundary of the farm.
It is this historic landscape and community which provides a ‘frame’ of support and a visual reference for the artworks, reflecting the fact that there has been a continuous system of land & water management and farming, in turn supporting a community on this site since medieval times.
The artwork builds a bridge to the past and also acts as a threshold between the external and internal landscapes of the building. The outlines of plants, suggest those which may have grown in the waterways and fields of the area – Flowering Rush, Floating Pondweed,
Dyers Greenweed, Birds Foot Trefoil, Marsh Marigold, Cowslip, Common Daisy and Stinking Cranesbill. The Field Pattern geometry works as a scaffold device to hold these detailed drawings together, with its suggestion of green fields, ponds, clouds and textures.
The whole artwork is kept rigidly in place via the deep architectural window frames, which impose a vertical and horizontal symmetry to the view.
The use of areas of clear, transparent glazing is very much a part of the intention of the work, allowing views both from and into the building, whilst further animating and providing a backdrop of external colour and texture to illuminate and make visible, the cut-out detailing of the artwork.
The Field Pattern is further used to inspire and give form to a wall-hung cabinet, to be known as the Field Cabinet, which can be used as an ordinary bookshelf as well as a cabinet of curiosity containing references to the history and locality of the new building.
The Ward Round Rooms at the Whiteleaf Centre have now been completed.
VGL Ltd collaborated with me on the production design and then manufactured and installed the digitally printed artwork wall coverings.
A few images of Amber, Sapphire and Ruby Ward Round Rooms – Opal Ward is still missing – but I will post some images as soon as they come in –
B. R. Phillips, Invicta Works, 22 – 24 Railway Street, Chatham, made Home Brewed Ginger Beer
‘Phillips Chatham Invicta Mineral Waterworks Unrivaled Brewed Ginger Beer’. !
D.J Whiffen, Invicta Mineral Waterworks, 22 – 24 Railway Street, Chatham
In 1912 – No 26 was the home of the Invicta Furniture and Baggage Depository. No 28 was a Garage and Cycle Works.
The 1848 Ordnance Survey Public Health Map of Chatham shows Rome House – a large detached mansion set in landscaped gardens – opposite St John’s Church on Rome Lane. Following the building of Chatham Railway Station, Rome Lane became Railway Street sometime after 1871. No 41 would have been a new property named after the original house.
This detail of the OS 1864 Map of Chatham shows Chatham Station at the bottom of this image. Railway Street to Military Road runs from the middle of the image to the top of the image. St John’s Church and Rome House can clearly be seen.