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'Harris Flights' at Harris Museum & Art Gallery

Date uploaded: August 14, 2013

In Certain Places has worked with Architectural practice, Research Design to create a new temporary staircase. Harris Flights invites people to move directly from the space of Preston's Flag Market into the heart of the Harris Museum & Art Gallery through a new ‘front door’, experiencing the neo classical, grade 1 listed building in an entirely new way. Harris Flights will be open from 17th August - 15th September 2013.

In place from 17th August - 15th September, it will be a new destination space to hang out in the city centre as well as a cultural hub for performance, contemporary art installations, workshops, demonstrations and talks by artists, UCLan and community groups: a stage for an audience to watch from the Flag Market and, at other times, a stadium for an audience to watch events on the Flag Market.

The project focuses on the relationship between the frontage of the grade 1 listed Harris Museum and the Flag Market. Standing in the Flag Market an audience can seem to be architecturally divorced from the interior of the Museum. Moreover, there has often been debate locally about the navigation of the building where the entrance is and whether the original design was to include steps. This is coupled with a desire to have access to the podium, and to share the opportunity to see Preston from the viewpoint of the privileged few.

Research Design worked with In Certain Places to examine the original plans of the Harris Museum & Art Gallery drawn by its architect James Hibbert to design a temporary extension of his original design. They also researched the buildings, which are said to have influenced the original design.

The proposal makes reference to the Konzerthaus concert Hall in Berlin that is said to have influenced the architect  James Hibbert’s design for the Harris Museum & Art Gallery. The main difference in the design is the decision not to construct a set of front steps directly from the busy Flag Market but to have two entrances from either sides of the building. This has a strong reference to the entrance of the National Gallery in London where a podium replaces the steps and the entrance is to the side. The podium has become a focus for ceremonial occasions from the time it was built to the present, as well as an advantage point for important visitors to address the city including Kings and Queen, prime-ministers football teams and celebrities.

Harris Flights was commissioned by In Certain Places working in partnership with Research Design. It is supported and programmed by the partnership of the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston City Council and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Harris Flights will be in place from 17th August - 15th September and is part of a programme of temporary public artworks and events, which examine how artists can contribute to the development of a city.

Click here for more information on the In Certain Places website.

Credit: Charlie MacKeith

Credit: Charlie MacKeith