18. Some Collaborations

“…as reflected in sensitivity, a keenness of observation, the ability to synthesise, to stress that which is typical and characteristic and, at the same time, to combine freely and harmoniously elements provided by the environment…”

– Anatoly Lunacharsky: ‘Heroes of Action in Meditation’, 1909

LINK: Public Art Online Resources – Collaboration – An Artist’s Perspective, 2004

With Robert Colbourne and/or Stuart Mugridge

2013 Cornmarket, Worcester

LINK: Outline Scheme

2011–2012 ‘Meshwork Worcester’ Phase #1

LINK: Arts Council England Lottery funded partnership with Worcester City Council

2010 RMG Sutton Coldfield

Collaborating with Stuart Mugridge and BPN Architects on the design opportunities associated with the former Sutton Park Station.

2009 Network Rail National Centre, Milton Keynes

Landscape and public art scheme with Capita Lovejoy and Rob Colbourne for 40,000m2 new development (GMW Architects).

2007–2008 Springfield Brewery, Wolverhampton

Collaborating with Robert Colbourne and Howl Associates Architects on the S106 public art plan for the redevelopment of the former brewery site.

With Bryant Priest Newman Architects

2013 Paradise Circus, Birmingham

LINK: Architects’ Journal & Argent Design Charrette. 

2012 FarGO Creative Enterprise Village, Coventry

LINK: Concept and context study for Bryant Priest Newman Architects.

2010 RMG Sutton Coldfield

Collaborating with Stuart Mugridge and BPN Architects on the design opportunities associated with the former Sutton Park Station.

2009 Birmingham Science Park

Partnering Capita Lovejoy, Bryant Priest Newman Architects and RLF on the ‘Vision’ document.

2008–2011 Golden Square, Birmingham

LINK: Winner with Capita Lovejoy and BPN Architects of the international design competition for a new £1.5m public square in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

2008 Pleck Road Sites, Walsall

Development Framework.

2007–2008 Dartmouth Park Community Pavilion

LINK: Collaborating with Bryant Priest Newman on the design of a new community facility in West Bromwich (Parks for People programme).

2007 Flax Mill, Shrewsbury

Partnering Bryant Priest Newman Architects, with PCPT Architects and MacCormac Jamieson Prichard Architects, on the CDP development bid.

Working Notes 24 – 27th April 2007

A pebble dropped from a lost bridge into a buried canal. A silent splash. An invisible rippling. Both a particularity of place.

Wormholes through time open up, and memories of what was once here leak out into the present moment. And the future possibility. A letter from Bage to Strutt calculating the strength of beams, or Marshall’s later character assasination of Bage, or the plight of Jeremiah France of 16 Spring Gardens, overseer at the factory; the sound of the scrutcher on the flax brought here from the Low Countries, the Baltic, Ireland and Normandy; the liquidation of 1886 when the colour faded from the site, or the summer of 1987 when the smells of the malting process stopped infiltrating the washing hanging in neighbouring back gardens.

Catching our eye or whispering in our ear. Time traced in the landscaping and the detailing to buildings. Two hundred and ten years collapsed into a series of perfect moments. This is the art of interpretation. Stretching the development opportunity to reveal content and longer term significance. Braque’s “survival does not do away with memory.”

2006-2007 Green Bridge Feasibility Study with Larry Priest (BPN Architects) & Rob Colbourne

Starting at noon, there was a procession from the Town Hall to the Park via Reform Street “headed by two Fire Engines fully horsed and equipped” and attended by all and sundry from far and wide. Once at the park, “the ceremony commenced by the vast assemblage singing the Old Hundredth Psalm…the reading of various documents by officials setting forth the conditions of the deed of dedication of the Park in trust for the use of the public”. The ceremony concluded with the National Anthem. 

In the evening there was “a grand pyrotechnic display” and “as a finale a fine figure of his Lordship was exhibited, in coloured fires…” before an ugly rush for the gates, people being thrown down and trampled upon, “screams and cries for help” from the “injured and affrighted…struggling in the mass…terrible catastrophe.” 

Psalm 100 (Book of Common Prayer): 

O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands: serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song.
Be ye sure that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and speak good of his Name.
For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting : and his truth endureth from generation to generation. 


2006 & 2007 Goddard Building Creative Quarter Feasibility Study, Hinckley

Partnership with Bryant Priest Newman Architects on delivery of new build and refurbishment design options for education and creative industries.

Atkins Bros. Factory, Hinckley (2003–07)

The destruction of historic buildings is…more often…the result of failure to make imaginative efforts to find new uses for them… [ref. PPG15 3.16]

The 2002 ‘Druid Quarter Masterplan & Regeneration Strategy (Latham Architects) commented, “As the centre of the town’s largest hosiery business, the Atkins Bros. factory is of pivotal importance in Hinckley’s economic history and townscape… The 1870s building and its matching extension must be retained and refurbished. …[it] is an important landmark.”

For the purposes of this study, the former factory buildings being considered for new use are the 1875-77 (extended 1909-10) block that runs along Baines Lane before turning onto Lower Bond Street, and the 1909-10 extension that continues the factory along Lower Bond Street. In total, the two buildings measure approximately 3800m2 over four floors.

The earliest block was designed by Joseph Goddard in partnership with Alfred Paget, and the later block by Henry Goddard in partnership with William Catlow. For convenience, this study refers to both buildings as the Goddard buildings. Both buildings are now listed and development options have been prepared with reference to PPG15 – ‘Planning & the Historic Environment’.

On the 8th February 2006, the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, under Section 1 of the Planning Act 1990 (Listed Building and Conservation Areas), added the Goddard buildings to the list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

2003 Irish Centre, Birmingham (pro/POSIT)

Collaboration with architects Bryant Priest Newman on a new public square and 22,500 m2 new build cultural centre with associated residential and office accommodation.

2001 SciMus, Birmingham 

Collaboration on a joint bid to Birmingham City Council in partnership with PCPT Architects, Bryant Priest Newman Architects and Glenn Howells Architects for the redevelopment of the former Museum of Science and Industry as live/work units and cultural facilities on behalf of Complex Development Project. 

2001–2004 Electric Wharf, Coventry

LINK: Lead artist to Complex Development Projects and architects Bryant Priest Newman for the design development of a former power station as live/work accommodation and 400 metre canal frontage. RICS Awards Winner 2007, RegenWM ‘Vison for Placemaking’ Winner 2007 and ‘Outstanding Place of the Decade’ Award 2010.

Electric Wharf Coventry 2001-2004 

Lead Artist to architects Bryant Priest Newman for Complex Development Project’s redevelopment of a former power station as live/work units with 400 metre canal frontage. 

“…this transformation of a redundant Victorian power station and depot shows how a commitment to creative practice and a belief in involving the arts can lead to sensitive redevelopment of our industrial heritage.” [regenWM Vision for Placemaking Winner 2007]

At Electric Wharf, we are doing three things: 

• we accept the properties of ‘place’ and the dimensions of ‘site’ of the former Sandy Lane Power Station; 

• in terms of the site, we are re-shaping the former Power Station in an unexpected and new way to produce Electric Wharf. Examples of this include the vertical glass ‘box’ inserted into the centre of Block D and the horizontal stretching of timber from one end of the site (the canal) to the other (the street); 

• in terms of place, we are emphasising the vestiges or traces of the former Power Station to produce a narrative richness for Electric Wharf. 

With Lovejoy / Capita Lovejoy / Define

2012 Snow Hill Gateway, Birmingham

Design Development.

The Red Line (the Ridge Line)

If the Red Line becomes sculptural (as X says, “twisting, tilting…the way it changes level is inte- gral to the way the ridge would rise / fall. The ridge would act at the wall / step which tilts the green”), I’m not convinced it should be red. There’s a danger that a red Ridge Line would become a horizontal ‘go-faster-stripe’ and would look clunky against the verticality of the surrounding buildings. It might be better if the Ridge Line was expressed as a tonal variation of the dominant colour palette (greys, blacks, silver), and we used ‘red’ differently to catch the eye across the square.

Line & Lining

Over the last couple of days, have become very interested in the difference between ‘line’ and ‘lining’, in which the latter is defined as “something that is used to line another thing; a layer of material on the inner side or surface of something”, and am wondering whether we should be using red accents to the ‘inner side’ of things. The William Hutton quote I’m interested in using is, “They possessed a vivacity I had never beheld / Their very step along the street showed alacrity.”

Other Types of Red

Oppenheim’s ‘Ruby Red’ will look dull against the brown brick (Ibstock Holbrook Sandface or Cheddar Brown?) of the surrounding office blocks, although it might work well as a default red against which accents in a stronger red might work well.

2011–2012 Gravesend Heritage Quarter


“A conspicuous church spire, the first seen distinctly coming from the sea, has a thoughtful grace, the serenity of a fine form above the chaotic disorder of men’s houses.” – Joseph Conrad: ‘The Mirror of the Sea’

[image: J.M.W. Turner: Shipping off Gravesend; St George’s Church in Right Distance, circa 1805-6, Tate Gallery] 

In this ‘Art as Landscape / Landscape as Art’ strategy, artist and designer have a shared vision for a new public realm that is guided by the immediate character context and associated heritage connections to ensure that the design is firmly embedded in Gravesend. In some locations, the balance tips in favour of good design and art plays a secondary role in the orchestration of colour and materials. Elsewhere, art dominates landscape to reveal narrative and content, and to make more of what the painter J. M. W. Turner and the writer Joseph Conrad each portrayed at different points in Gravesend’s history.

By way of example, ‘Art as Landscape / Landscape as Art’ organises the public realm against the plot divisions of the High Street; it sets the planting distances for trees against the high/low tide measurements for the date of the annual Gravesend Maritime Festival; it emphasises the horizontality of weatherboarding against the verticality of St George’s Church spire; it accentuates views; and it details the townscape in exactly the same way that a ship chandler would equip vessels sailing to and from Gravesend.

It also tells stories. Of the Bawley Boats, the Starbuck family, of ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’ passing through Gravesend en route to London’s Victoria Embankment, the Poet Keats boarding the sailing brig Maria Crowther for his final journey to Rome, the “large bone of a prehistoric monster’ found in Sea Reach in 1938. Of the many fires that have changed Gravesend’s townscape over the centuries, and of the firework displays that have celebrated royal visits and other important events in the town’s history.

It also ensures that the design of the public realm accommodates the full spectrum of social activities, from the individual user lost in his/her thoughts to casual gathering to large-scale public events, and how this part of Gravesend provides the resident and visitor with a rich experience of place.

LINK: Concept and design development.

2010 South Wolverhampton & Bilston Academy

Design development.

2009–2010 BSF Wolverhampton

IPD statements on public art for inspiredspaces.

2009 Network Rail National Centre, Milton Keynes

Landscape and public art scheme with Capita Lovejoy and Rob Colbourne for 40,000m2 new development (GMW Architects).

2009 Birmingham Science Park

‘Vision’ document.

2009 Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Public Realm Master Plan

Concept and vision development for three hospitals in Birmingham, Solihull, and Sutton Coldfield with Substrakt.

2008–2011 Golden Square, Birmingham

LINK: Winner with Capita Lovejoy and BPN Architects of the international design competition for a new £1.5m public square in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

2008–2009 New Growth Point, Leicester

Preliminary designs and detailed drawings.

The Time of Connecting Past, Present and Future

“Time goes, you say? Ah, no! Alas, Time stays, we go.”

– Austin Dobson 1840-1921

We are as interested in the time spent waiting for a bus as we are in making the most of the evidence of archaeological time. The passage of time is common to both the individual bus traveller and the character of the Leicester cityscape, and it is how we connect together these different experiences of time that will contribute much to a new sense of place for the future.

In most long established cities, to understand the trajectory of the built environment through time requires an act of remembrance, a sensitive, subtle and individual imagining of the lives and times of previous generations and the crucial roles they played in the formation of cityscape. Leicester is not like this. In Leicester, the evidence of trajectory is visible to even the least interested passer-by.

. . .

This is important to this design study – how best to work within a cumulative and emergent trajectory to improve connectivity and create better public realm. Part of this is to work well with what’s there, to recognise asset value (whether material or symbolic), and frame it appropriately in the new streetscape.

2008 Rally Park, Leicester

Development Study with Kathryn Moore.

Working Notes September 2008

Maybe ‘boundary’ is the right word, but it may make for a stronger concept if it is about blurred or lost boundaries…or shifting boundaries, whether this is the shift of the boundary that took the River Soar and then what is now the Park into the city, or the shift of boundary between participation and spectating, or between what is garden and what is parkscape, or what is community and what is city. Or between art and everything else.

At one time, Leicester’s sprawling industrialisation must have seemed unstoppably, with time- honoured city boundaries constantly shifting outwards to match the speed of expansion – to capture for the swelling city the new canal navigation and river-fronting factories, cheaper coal from the outlying collieries to the north-west, more land for more housing and manufacturing.

As the boundaries of the rapidly industrialising city shifted geographically, the social boundaries reinforcing our individual identities became as tightly circumscribed as the paths and flower beds in the new Abbey Park. The civic, social and cultural conventions that underpinned Leicester’s industrialisation during the 19th century were as defendable as the walls of Ratae Corieltauvorum had been 1800 years earlier.

2007–2008 Milton Keynes Western Expansion Areas 10.1 – 10.3 and 11

Art/landscape strategy and public realm design codes for the Fairfield development comprising housing, employment and ancillary uses, schools, local centres, burial ground and remembrance garden, retained landscape asset and new landscape buffers.

2007 Castle College Maid Marian Way Campus, Nottingham

Public realm and public art master plan for 2.9 acre comprehensive mixed use development with Kathryn Moore.

2004  Town Square, West Bromwich (pro/POSIT)

Short-listed design collaboration for new public space. Previously 2001–2002 Town Square West Bromwich sub–consultant to Alsop Architects.

As pro/POSIT (with Maurice Maguire)

2004–2005 Culture & Regeneration Study, Corby BC (pro/POSIT)

Approaches, action plan and funding profile informed by the local, sub-regional and regional contexts seeking to: enhance the overall quality of the built and natural environments; promote better design innovation, creativity and excellence; and ensure participation for local communities, artists and other design and planning professionals in regeneration processes.

2004–2006 Stourport Canal Basins Masterplan (pro/POSIT)

LINK: Collaboration with British Waterways on masterplanning of Brindley’s historic canal basins leading to design implementation and parallel commissioning programme. Heritage Lottery-funded with additional funding support from Arts Council England-West Midlands, Wyre Forest District Council, and Arts & Business. Shortlisted for BURA Waterways Renaissance ‘Strategy & Master Planning’ Award 2006.

2004–2005 Hinckley Building:Building Hinckley (pro/POSIT)

Arts Council England-East Midlands funded programme of creative innovation underpinning the market town’s master plan process and subsequent roll out. Subsequently a collaboration with architects Bryant Priest Newman.

2003  Irish Centre, Birmingham (pro/POSIT)

Collaboration with architects Bryant Priest Newman on a new public square and 22,500 m2 new build cultural centre with associated residential and office accommodation.

2003–2004 ‘constant/change’, Brierley Hill (pro/POSIT)

Appointed by British Waterways to contribute to the masterplanning process for the new Brierley Hill.

2003 West Midlands Youth Spaces (pro/POSIT)

Partnership with MADE (Midlands Architecture & Designed Environment), developing a project with Government Office – West Midlands to design and construct ten new youth spaces, and to evaluate this experience to identify good practice for subsequent national roll-out.

2003–2004 mac/SAMPAD, Birmingham (pro/POSIT)

Client side appointment as consultant artists to deliver the involvement of artists in the capital build programme (architects Branson Coates).

2003 Regent Street, Hinckley (pro/POSIT) 

Appointed as artist advisers to Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council to support the development of a local Public Art Forum for the delivery of public art initiatives in the Regent Street pedestrianisation scheme in the Town Centre. 

2003 ‘City Building’ Stoke on Trent (pro/POSIT) 

Arts Council West Midlands funded development of a public art inquiry/event for artists in the region based on a live project in partnership with Stoke City Council Planning Department to generate content for the regeneration of Hanley, as the new city centre.

2003 South Town, Leamington Spa (pro/POSIT) 

Consultant artists to Warwick District Council to identify themes and opportunities that reinvigorate and support public use and the quality of public spaces, incorporating the ‘sign posting’ of the extent of the developing Cultural Quarter.

2002–2003 ‘Golden Squares’ Leicestershire (pro/POSIT) 

Arts Council East Midlands funded action research project with local authority arts officers (LADOF) to identify principles for a countywide framework for public art. 

2002 ‘Three Views’ Chesterfield BC (pro/POSIT) 

Lead artists on a percent for art framework linked to the construction of Hasland Hall Estate (William Davis Ltd). The framework sets out propositions for three key interventions within Hasland village, Eastwood Park and the new development, linking community interests with new perspectives.

2002 Old Town Square, Leamington Spa (pro/POSIT) 

Consultant artists to Warwickshire County Council for the public art feasibility study for The Parade and Old Town Square Leamington Spa, linked to the DTLR funded ‘mixed urban priority route’ scheme.

2002 ‘Crossing Rivers’ Leamington Spa (pro/POSIT) 

Action-research project funded by Public Art West Midlands exploring the social, cultural and symbolic implications of crossing rivers – the River Leam in particular and other rivers in general. To understand the significance of crossing a line or a boundary. 

“The plaque says, ‘A German bomb moved this statue one inch on its plinth on the 14th November 1940’. How many more bombs would need to fall to make the art object come crashing down to street level? And, more interestingly, when do you get to notice the one inch changes amidst the larger scale devastation of a bomb blast (or, indeed, and other method of remodelling townscape?).”

2001–2002 Public Art–West Midlands

Framework Planning Study.

2001–2002 Coventry Artists’ Co-operative

RALP-funded Feasibility Study.

2001 West Midlands Arts

Appraisal of Junction Artists Agency.

2001 Huntingdon Civic Society

Town centre Arts Study.

1994–1995 Coventry City Council

Coventry Canal Corridor Public Art Strategy.

With Jane Kelly

1993–1994 Cardiff Bay Arts Trust

Bute Square & Avenue Design Team (with Jack Mackie and architects MBM, Barcelona).

1992 Cardiff Bay Arts Trust

Tyndal Street Design Team.

1992 Bond Bryan Architects

Linear Park Design Team Sheffield.

1992–1994 Sheffield Hallam University

Co-Lead Artist for Campus 21. 

1992 Building Design Partnership

Howard Street Masterplan.

1991 Coventry City Council

North-South Road, Coventry Design Team (with Francis Gomila, Sue Ridge, Jane Kelly).

As West Midlands Public Art Collective

1987 Sandwell MBC

High Bullen Design Study.

1986 West Midlands County Council

China Town Design Study.

1986 West Midlands County Council

Soho Road Design Study.

1985–1987 West Midlands County Council

City of a Thousand Trades, Bell Street Passage, Birmingham.

1984–1985 West Midlands County Council

Manzoni Gardens, Birmingham.

Statement March 2010

In collaboration there are no boundaries, only differences. The professional boundaries that separate art from architecture from landscape are not relevant to the task of good place making. The differences, though, between artist, architect and landscape architect, our different ways of seeing the world, are essential to making vibrant places that are multi-layered and that engage people in different ways and on different levels.

Or to say this another way, the best places are often the product of creative cross-cutting between artist, architect and landscape architect, where the richness of user experience and expression of place are prioritised over what separates art from architecture from landscape.

Through collaboration, we share the responsibility to expand the experience and feed the imagination, and our collaboration produces intelligent and beautiful places that are not only fit for purpose, but delight the user and capture a sense of place.

We have collaborated together for many years and on many different projects. We have a clear understanding of how our collaborative process works, and of how far we can push each other to get the best from our different ways of seeing the world.

Our collaboration makes us open, available and useful, and that’s what we bring to the table.

We draw together and with others, we write a lot, we research and investigate and build websites to capture content and information, we spend time in the places we are working with, we like hearing stories, we look back to look forward, and we take people with us.

PDF: Public Art Online Resources – Collaboration – An Artist’s Perspective, 2004

LINK: Public Art Online Resources – Collaboration – An Artist’s Perspective, 2004

PDF: Gillian Nicol | Playing Up, 2007

PDF: 2010 Collaboration Statement