ixia: public art think tank

ixia has taken over the ownership and management of Public Art Online from Arts Council England. The design and content of the website are currently being reviewed.

Bookmark and Share

Art Meets Architecture Conference report

King Alfred's College, Winchester

22 June 2001

This event was organised by the Hampshire Sculpture Trust in conjunction with the RIBA Southern Branch to coincide with Architecture Week 2001. Over eighty people attended the new conference centre at the College to hear a lively series of presentations.

The day was chaired by Sir Colin Stansfield Smith, Professor of Architectural Design, Portsmouth School of Architecture who advocated reintroducing a commissioning programme of sculpture in Winchester having been involved in the 1980's exhibitions outside the Law Courts when the Elizabeth Frink was purchased.

Judith King spoke about the Sitooteries project which she organised in the English Heritage owned Belsay Hall in Northumberland during 2000. Sitooteries attracted nearly 100,000 visitors in seven months and was featured widely in the national and international press. Contemporary installations, summerhouses and pavilions were commissioned from twelve leading architects, artists and designers who were asked to interpret the word Sitooterie (literally a Scottish word describing an outdoor structure for sitting out in or 'a place for retreat') including Tania Kovats, Thomas Heatherwick Studio, Foster and Partners, FAT and Julian Opie.

Nader Mokhtari, Project Manager and trained engineer at Newcastle City Council spoke about Thomas Heatherwick's Blue Carpet project, a 1.4 million development of a public square to include terrazzo paving and seating outside the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle involving the invention of new materials and techniques. He described the process of creating the blue glass and resin tiles which has taken five years from concept to completion. During this time tenders were negotiated directly with contractors rather than through the more usual local authority channels. The audience were impressed by the vision needed by Nader, Newcastle City Council and other project partners to sustain such a complex and problematic project.

Julia Manheim, artist, and Louise O'Reilly, Director of Artpoint gave a joint presentation on Poured, Curved and Deep: New Art Commissions at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead. The Centre opened in September 2000 providing a major new arts venue for Maidenhead and the wider Thames Valley. Artpoint was appointed to manage the commissions programme and Julia Manheim was appointed as Consultant Artist. Julia together with lighting artists Anna Heinrich & Leon Palmer, sound artist Hans Peter Kuhn and fine artist Liza Gough Daniels worked as part of the design team creating artworks which were fully integrated into the overall fabric of the Centre. The artists advised on all visual and design aspects of the building from the lighting, use of colour, floor coverings in the theatre, performance and rehearsal space and exhibition gallery. As with the Newcastle project Louise O'Reilly described how it was necessary to negotiate separate contracts with all the artists and contractors, reflecting the different scales of operation between artists and large scale contractors.

Alexander Beleschenko, glass artist and Matthew Dean, architect from MacCormac Jamieson Prichard talked about their work on Southwark tube station and other collaborative projects. Beleschenko produced Glass wall - Cone wall for the concourse at Southwark.

Hampshire based artist Charlie Carter talked about his role as project manager and lead artist for new commissions totalling £250,000 at Horndean School, Hampshire in partnership with Hampshire County Architects and Weguelin Yearley architects and funded through the Arts Lottery. Other commissioned artists include Jonathan Froud, Michael Fairfax, Alison Crowther, Joanna Veevers, Paul Rowbottom, Julia Little.

Peter Sharpe's presentation was on his work as curator of the Kielder Art and Architecture programme which started in 1995 at the Kielder Forest and Kielder Water area. New commissions include Kielder Skyspace by the renowned American artist James Turrell at Cat Cairn: sited on a rocky outcrop in the hills surrounding the lake the structure balances interior and exterior light and space. Kielder Belvedere, a stainless steel structure sited on Kielder Water's remote north shore, was designed by London based architects Softroom. The shelter provides a viewing point as well as protection from the elements.

The day finished with a debate about the many issues raised concerning collaborative practice between artists, architects, engineers, planners and other design professionals. No specific conclusions were drawn, however I certainly came away with a closer understanding of what constitutes good commissioning practice and an insight into the vision, commitment - not to mention large chunks of funding - needed to realise complex integrated art and architecture schemes.

Frances Lord, September 2001

Originally printed in the Hampshire Sculpture Trust's Autumn 2001 newsletter

The Hampshire Sculpture Trust
St Thomas' Centre
Southgate Street
Winchester SO23 9EF
Tel: 01962 877598
[email protected]

 Fast Find

Go to specific information related to you.

 Editor's Choice

What's New

ixia update

 Join our elist