On Tuesday 19th March 2019, the screens were carefully installed by SEH Commercial. The East Screen was installed in the morning and the North Screen in the afternoon. Proto Glass Studiosdelivered the 18 sealed units – a total of 42 sqm of decorated glass – in two runs from their premises in Pewsey, Wiltshire. I couldn’t be there, which was a real disappointment, but the process was documented by a number of people on site. I am showing their images here.
There is still a fair amount of work to be done in finishing the new buildings, both inside & out, so for now and the foreseeable future at least, the glass will be covered by boards & protected. These are the last images we will see before the building is officially opened.
This project has been a great journey to make in collaboration with a wonderful project team. Hetty Dupays, director of Art at the Heart of the RUHwho commissioned the work has been a most supportive project manager. Also a big thanks to Gina Sargeant,Head of Therapies & Clinical Site, whose direct and pragmatic approach was balanced by her humour. I could not have delivered this artwork without the input and advocacy of both these brilliant people. A massive thanks to all staff and patients from both the RUH and RHNRD (The Min), IBI Group Architects& Main Contractor Kierwho collaborated throughout, and who offered their support and experience.
The external wall elevations and frames are still in progress, as are the interiors and the Screens will be padded out and boarded up from today, to protect them during the remaining works on site.
Our work with David & Richard at Proto Studios in Pewsey, Wiltshire has now come to an end.
Sadly, this week saw our final visit to Proto Glass Studios to see the completed glazing sealed units before they leave to be installed in the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. The new unit is being delivered by Kier Group with IBI Group Architects. This artwork production of 46sqm of beautifully decorated and finished, screen-printed, sandblasted & etched artwork manufactured by Proto Studios, which will enhance the architectural curtain wall glass screens for the new Hydrotherapy Pool within the Therapies Unit was commissioned by Art at the Heart. A massive thank you to David & Richard Proto and all the glass technicians at Proto Studios who had a highly skilled hand in delivering this work. It has been a really rewarding collaboration.
The panels are due to be installed in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed for a hassle free installation…watch this space!
Above: Safe in skilled hands…glass technicians carefully present each of the 18 double glazed sealed units for us to see.
There are many threads of research and interest which have influenced the development and visual narrative of the artwork. The following notes and lists are from my own notebooks, where I made records of research sessions and information which struck me as inspirational.
The Mineral Water Hospital, affectionately known as The Min, was built in 1742 & overlooked open, ‘quiet fields’ and countryside. The Hospital was constructed on the site of Bath’s first Theatre of 1705, by the Architect George Trim, whose Mother was, apparently the sister of the Kings Architect, Inigo Jones. The theatre was demolished 1738.
This theatrical & dramatic connection has influenced the concept of using the glazed Hydrotherapy screens as inspirational painted backdrops – a way of creatively setting the scene within the new space & enhancing the experience of staff and patients using the Pool.
In 1859, with great ceremony, the foundation stone was laid for a new hospital building adjacent to the original site and built upon the grounds of a ‘large formal garden belonging to the Parsonage of St Peter Paul Parish’. This garden is shown on the John Speed map of 1610.
The new Royal United Hospital was built in open fields at Combe Park in 1932 (having moved from central Bath). Combe Park had formerly been the site of the Bath War Hospital built in 1916 to provide beds and medical services for WW1 Casualties. There was a small pond and a stream ran nearby. Patients and staff were encouraged to grow and maintain flower gardens & were rewarded with prizes.
In the Building Report on The Mineral Water Hospital, by The House Historians, March 2006, there is a detailed report on The Chapel, (now the home of Bath Medical Museum)and its architectural decorations.
This mentions a number of plants seen in carvings, stained glass and other architectural details, which are wonderfully useful in referencing the legacy of The Min, when it finally closes its doors to move to the RUH site:
Colour and pattern used within the stained glass is also influential. Patterns are influenced by the architectural decoration and tiling of The Min Chapel.
Various hydrotherapy treatments, methods and equipment as described as being newly installed in 1915 following extensive alterations, are also very evocative and inspire some abstract interpretation within my creative narrative.
Aix and Vichy Douches
Scotch and Needle Douches
Reclining and Vapour Baths
Radiant Heat Baths
Sulpher Baths of Potassium Sulphide
Mineral Water Baths
Hubbard Tank to treat the entire body simultaneously
‘A Vichy Massage required the patient to stand on a rubber covered slab whilst showered with jets of hot mineral water. The needle bath was a circular shower with an array of horizontal pipes which sprayed fine jets of water’.
Descriptions of the Coat of Arms for the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases – to give The Min its formal & proper title, is a useful source of colour references, decorative motifs, plants, animals and their meaning.
White for truth, sincerity, peace, innocence and purity
Circlet of Fountains
I like the colour of evening sky, that particular shade of indigo blue.
Water is by turns fluid and abstract, vaporous & ephemeral, contained within many shapes – rivers, ponds, streams, pools, baths, glasses & oceans – any number of vessels.
My creative approach is making connections between place & historic legacy, hydrotherapy practice and an imaginary landscape, which may be conjured up whilst being treated in the pool & feeling the benefits of floating & exercising, whilst being supported by warm water and the care and assistance and encouragement of staff.
‘This hospital was to be entirely self-funded, and even before the hospital was built the raising of monies for it began in earnest. Bath’s Master of Ceremonies, Richard Beau Nash arranged balls and collected subscriptions; wills, donations and even bequests of a diamond, and 1,000 oranges, contributed to the coffers. The list of donors reads like a Who’s Who of 18th century Bath society. Those who donated £40 or more were invited to become a hospital governor, including the artist William Hoare and the actor David Garrick’.
This Estate Map above – date unknown – shows the private estate of Weston Manor before the RUH incorporated it into its site in the 20th Century.
‘The hospital moved to its present site, Combe Park, on 11 December 1932. The site had previously been used for the large First World War Bath War Hospital which opened in 1916. In November 1919 it was renamed the Bath Ministry of Pensions Hospital, which it remained until it closed in 1929.
The site was also used by the Forbes Fraser Hospital and the Bath and Wessex Orthopaedic Hospital, both founded in 1924 and which merged into the RUH about 1980. The former manor house on the site, originally medieval but remodelled in the 18th century, became an administrative building. The building is a Grade II* listed building due to its fine Adam style interior’. Wikipedia
A quick site visit yesterday – 19th March – to see the manifestation sample installed in the M1 / M2 Block entrance lobby. This is one of the interpretive artworks on site – part of the public realm and public art enhancements.
This is the interior courtyard space, which we know as The Place – this is a public space for both residents and pedestrians alike. The site will provides a new pedestrian route along a desire line from Chelmsford Station, through to the town centre.
The York Stone steps with inset granite text are manufactured by the Ashfield Group.
Interior of entrance lobby – with sample vinyl manifestation taped to the glazing. The weather was really dull & overcast. The printed white inks don’t jump out very much. If it had been bright and sunny, the design would cast a myriad of shadows onto the frame and floors. Will have to wait & see how that works out !
I spent yesterday – 17th March 2015 – in Reading, working in the design room at VGL Ltd with one of their production designers, James, to build and sample the final production artwork for the glazing manifestation to be installed in the M1 / M2 Block Entrance Lobby, Central Chelmsford. VGL really do put in the extra mile to get exactly what I want – it is very much appreciated.
We had a full size sample printed and tomorrow I am going to site to see it installed for final approval by the project team.
This is the visual that was produced – it is presented against a black background because the artwork is printed in many layers of opaque and transparent white overlaid one on another. – Durst Print white only in reverse onto Madico Optically Clear vinyl, applied to the inside face of glazing.
We now have a schedule agreed and are working to issue draft artwork for comment and hopefully, approval by this time next week.
It was agreed that the principle we should follow is to develop a highly visual & primarily figurative narrative, which also provides a privacy screen between the users of the ward rooms and the external courtyards. The courtyard landscapes are brand new, with ground level put to grass and no planting at height to provide cover or privacy screening. This has however provided the opportunity to create a new and imaginary landscape, which bridges the gap between figurative and recognisable details and structures from the external landscape, alongside abstract and original forms and patterns found within the artwork.
The works are to be digitally printed onto optically clear vinyl in layers of opaque and transparent white, with some added colour. The attention to detail will be focussed on a horizontal band across the mid section of the glazing screen to provide privacy. The top section will be left clear, so that uninterrupted views of the sky can be had. We are working closely with Guardian Window Film to manufacture & install the work.
These images are simply the first steps in creating a visual language and narrative for the project. The artwork is being developed as a long rectangular landscape – as a view through a window – . Each of the 10 ward rooms – each with a window, will be detailed with a section of this work, to give the appearance that each room has a unique identity and view of its own.
The artwork draft above shows the printed artwork as shades and layers of opaque white. The black areas will show as clear glass in the final works.
There are 10 small one & two bed ward rooms arranged in two ward blocks within the new hospital by Nightingale Architects. The rooms are full of natural light and the interior colour schemes are muted and calm, with the odd spot of brighter colour, such as the chair. The artwork manifestation will respond to this scheme. The views through the windows are now partially obscured, providing a degree of privacy for the user, whilst also maintaining sufficient clear glass to allow natural light and changing weather conditions to be seen.
Nightingale Architects have made available some new images of the project at The Whiteleaf Centre, Aylesbury. This particular image is of the large meeting room in the resource centre. The digitally printed artwork manufactured by Guardian is applied to the glazing screen. When the sun is strong, this creates an additional and fleeting, ephemeral extension of the artwork cast in shadow upon the floor and adjacent walls.
GLAZING MANIFESTATION ARTWORKS TO THE ‘HEART OF THE CAMPUS’ BUILDING FOR SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY, COLLEGIATE CAMPUS .
DIGITALLY PRINTED WHITE INKS OVERLAIN IN OPAQUE & TRANSPARENT LAYERS ONTO OPTICALLY CLEAR VINYL .
Up to Sheffield to walk around site with Carly Birkett of VGL . I am developing the glazing manifestation artwork in collaboration with VGL and we have limited time to get this project developed and installed. As usual the project contractors, Graham Construction were really helpful on site and assisted in the process of taking all ‘as built’ measures of the glazing screens which will take the artwork.
The proposals for glazing manifestations is a continuation of the west elevation Rockpanel rains creen artwork, where cnc routed detailed drawings where been used to create a hard edged and graphic finish, dictated in part by its design influences in historic printmaking and metalworking in Sheffield and by the materials and methods of its own production. The manifestation artworks being are created using the same base visual language & influences developed & explored in the Rockpanel work. This proposal expands upon this concept to explore a softer more fluid application concerned with lightness, detail, transparency & opacity to create a balancing contrast to the dynamic geometry & scale of the building. ‘The designs are abstract & cloud-like, suggesting ephemeral objects, floating within the architectural space from the ground floor to the very top of the atrium roof. The interactions of the various patterns and forms, overlaying and meeting to create new shapes, details and transparencies suggest a coalescing of conversations, interactions, disciplines and dialogue. The exhalations & energy of everyone who may use this new building are manifest here’. The digitally printed vinyl manifestation is applied to the glazing directly which requires a lighter touch than the West Elevation artwork. The detail and narrative appear as if blown and drifted through the building. This project is a continuation, extension and elaboration of the recently completed West Elevation Rockpanel Rainscreen artwork, where cnc routed detail has been used to create a hard edged and graphic appearance, dictated in part by its origins in printmaking and metalworking and the materials and methods of its production. The original concept was developed as a contextual research document, which still stands as the concept driver for the project and is submitted for reference along with this presentation. ‘The manifestation artworks being proposed in draft form here are created from the same base visual language developed for the Rockpanel Rainscreen works of the west elevation, but expandsupon this concept to explore a softer more fluid application concerned with light, space & transparency to create a balancing contrast to the dynamic geometry of the building.