University Square Preston

Project: UCLan Student Centre & University Square
Location: Preston
Lead Architects: Hawkins\Brown

Landscape Architects: Plincke

Hard Landscaping Materials: Hardscape

Contractors: Bowmer + Kirkland

Budget: £100,000

Site Programme: 36 months
Service: Public Art Sub-Consultant
Artists (3 of 4): Halima Cassell MBE (Artist & Sculptor)

Commissioned by University of Central Lancashire (UClan) to work as a sub-consultant under lead architects Hawkins\Brown, since 2017, Atoll have been developing an integrated public art strategy linked to the £60m Student Centre and University Square being built in Preston as part of the UCLan Masterplan and is still due to complete in 2021 despite Covid-19.

A number of artist commissions have evolved out of that strategy following the earlier Testbed commission. These residencies have been developed in consultation with a public art steering group involving various stakeholders.

As part of these commissions, Preston-trained artist and sculptor Halima Cassell (who in 2021 was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours) has been commissioned to design a series of applied ‘Industrial Art’ works based on the her long interest in tiling repeat patterns. Integrated directly into the actual design fabric of the public realm. These works, once installed, will form decorative treatements to granite used in retaining walls and integrated seating sited around the university’s new square. These beautiful new pieces have been created collaboratively with the artist working through Atoll’s assistance with client UClan, lead architects Hawkins\Brown, landscape architects Plincke, landscape materials suppliers Hardscape and Contractors Bowmer + Kirkland.

The ‘2-Part Tesselation’ repeats are being created in a range of hard granite colours in both intricate 3D tiling as well as being directly carved into solid blocks. The artworks are all 3D-cut using Hardscape water jets controlled digitally by something called ‘CNC’ (computer numerical control). A gallery of some of the initial test pieces produced by Hardscape for approval by Halima in January 2021 are seen provisionally below. Watch this space….

Categories: Public Art

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