We have completed the outside chillaxing space at Knowle DGE School. It aims to provide a different environment to the classroom, with multiple seating zones and areas to occupy/take ownership for students with moderate learning, social and emotional behavioural difficulties.
My UFO finally lands in Leeds. Perhaps more street furniture than sculpture, it illuminates the industrial forge beneath it. Over and out.
My UFO sculpture for BAM Ltd and the Canal/River/Railway site in Leeds taking shape in David Kendrew's metal workshop today in Harrogate. The photo shows it upside down before all the metal panels have been attached. Hopefully the project will be on site in a couple of weeks.
Nice article about the Low Parkamoor project as a great place to stay:
As of today the 'solar powered UFO sculpture' goes into production in Kendrew's metalwork workshop in Harrogate. I have been working on the designs for the artwork to sit ontop of the exisitng cast iron drop forge since 2007. When finished it will be situated at the meeting point between the canal, and Whitehall road in Leeds, clearly visable from the train on the way from Leeds to London. The next 10 weeks will be interesting especially as Laura is expecting a baby in the next few weeks.
Pleased to announce after two years of late nights I have graduated from the BA at sheffield university architecture school with a first class Degree. First I designed a housing scheme in the yorkshire town of Goole, then a polling station for Birmingham. Here is a concept drawing for the Goole project. I am please to be able to report that Architectural teaching at sheffield and the standard of the students was really impressive. There was a whole lot more drawing and communication education going down than in any art school I have been to recently.
In January I spent some time reading about the urban transformation of Berlin in particular the process of re-use over successive decades of the Mietkaseren (rental Barrack). Interestingly Berlin seems to have had a series of influential exhibitions, stemming from a general discomfort with the way the 1960's large scale urban renewal projects were changing the city aiming to adapt it into to separate zones, economic, industrial, residential and so on connected through high speed rail links. The International building exhibitions - with typically german poetic themes such as 'the inner city as residential area' and 'European monument preservation year (1975) explored and proved that 'renewal without removal' was a workable, profitable (renewing meant 40% to 60% of the new build cost) and vital undertaking. Apparently leading to a new approach by the city architects and planners to work with the old people, the squatting movement and the inhabitants to create more care in keeping the unique characteristics of the buildings, and the mix of residents and artisan businesses in areas such as Kreuzberg. It is an inspiring realization that the soft and intellectual undertaking of a city exhibition had a direct and real impact in changing the opinions and approach to the hard economics and business of regeneration. Having experienced first hand the last decade of art biennales and art fares, such as frieze, Liverpool biennale, Istanbul biennale, Venice biennale etc, and locally; situation Leeds, Manchester international festival, has the city exhibition become a celebration of culture, the individual creative and an attempt to place itself within a largely too broad global issue or debate (the theory led curatorial vision ), at the expense of something a bit more sensible and useful.
After a year and a bit studying for my part 1 in architecture at Sheffield University, renovating a house and studio for Laura and myself and most importantly of all having a baby, young Alfred Davies, it seems that I have re-hitched my saddle and slowly got back on the art/design band wagon with four projects about to kick off this spring and summer.
The first is a sculptural commission for the omnipresent builders and developers BAM properties, which is just about to be submitted for its planning permission.
The second is a project for Leeds University called the Road to Voting, http://www.theroadtovoting.org/ a bit behind my hoped schedule but the contract is nearly signed, and by all accords its time for a voting based artwork to leap from the moleskin notebook and into the world.
The third is a commission for a new School in Bristol headed up by public art consultant Aldo Rinaldi – other artists undertaking the series of commissions are Tom and Simon Bloor from Birmingham, the Arnolfini Gallery, and amazingly Nick Park of Ardman animation in collaboration with Conrad Shawcross?
Finally there is a design commission for some new offices for the Leeds based building developer St James Securities, the first proper building design I have been asked to undertake.
We have been commissioned by the multi-multi disciplinary ‘Road to Voting’ project www.theroadtovoting.org to create an artwork based on the research and recent interviews into the moment of voting by Professor Stephen Coleman (Professor of Political Communication and Director of Research at the Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds). The artwork will come to fruition alongside work by co-commissioner Vanalyne Green and a new theatre piece by Steven Bottoms and a building proposal for the final archive of the whole project being developed by Irena Bauman of Bauman Lyons Architects.
To expand on a hypothetical artwork at this early stage is never a good idea, initially I have just been thinking about the spaces that we vote in, such as village halls and school gyms, thinking how these seemingly haphazard places are utilised every four years – and the possible effect that their associated and symbolic meaning might have on the voter as he/she marks the ballot paper. What would a designated voting space look like as a state project?
It seems on first inspection that there is little written about the architecture that democracy actually takes place in. There is though a lifetime of research into ancient Greek buildings, the first theatre and its relation to the origins of democracy. There are also studies of buildings where internal party voting takes place, Foster’s Reichstag Dome above the debating chamber in Berlin and his similar City Hall in London. There is Alvar Aalto’s interesting brick built ‘House for Culture’ in Helsinki for the 1950’s Finish Communist Party to meet in. There are also famous buildings that nod their head to democratic power such as Sir Charles Barry’s Palace of Westmingster and there is plenty of architecture for non-democracies (e.g. Versailles, the architecture of power). There is also interesting theorizing around democratic processes in architecture – and its participatory nature. But there seems little in the way of buildings that express the importance of the ground up voter’s role in the whole democratic process. At this stage we can say that these ideas might play a part in a project that as yet has no venue, no imagined form nor fixed deadline (dependant on when Gordon Brown calls the next election!). This point in the process is a familiar if temporary moment, a nucleus of potential energy, a projected zone for imaginative projects.