Wind Sculpture, Silver Street, 2004

Previously the sweeping street corner with a few incidental benches tacked on, adjacent to a large expanse of grass, provided seating which felt exposed and out of scale. The design solution was a layout that took advantage of the existing grass amphitheater and terracing to provide informal seating, enclosed within a more formal seating area. The paving curves round following the site contours and the paving jut out to enclose the grass apron, like seating round a stage. Indeed the area acts both as an arena for street theatre during Stocktons International Riverside Festival and as a vantage point for Festival events held on the riverside. The use of York Stone enhances the quality of the scheme, and the Tegula sett paving allows a fluidity of design and provides a contrast in size and texture to the paving slabs. The choice of these elements and the use of mosaic tiles at the base of the wind sculpture, reflects recent paving schemes in the towns public spaces. The axis of the site visually links the town centre with the river, the wind sculpture, up lit at night, acting as a beacon. The wind sculpture and street furniture was designed and made by Phil Johnson of Ratho forge. The design imparts a unique identity to the seating area, which reflects the character of Stockton, and creates a sense of place. The solid construction and materials used in the street furniture recall steam locomotives and Stocktons early role in the development of the railway. The sharp angular, steel form of the wind sculpture, Eolian Motion, connects the future with the past; the new businesses in the technology park across the river with the heavy, engineering industries of the past. The articulated arms of the sculpture move, directed by the force of the wind. The wind sculpture construction was undertaken between March and April 2001. Wind Sculpture, designed and manufactured by P. Johnson & Co. Blacksmiths, Ratho Byres Forge, Freelands Road, Ratho, Midlothian EH28 8NW.



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