The satisfaction of a job well done
There can be few things more satisfying than seeing a project in which you have been involved, however minimally, come to fruition. At the start of this year I was involved in judging a competition to find a design team for a project to be called The Observatory. Organised by independent arts organisation SPUD, based in the south of England, this was to be a moveable structure that would spend six month stretches in four different locations in the landscape. In each place, three different artists would have residency.
The winners were four very young architects and an artist friend. Their solution was to have two pods, one for the artist to inhabit and the other for exhibition. These would be clad in burnt wood and could rotate to face the sun or shelter from the wind. The project was ambitious, but not so ambitious that it could not be built within the tiny budget. Although the architects were inexperienced, they worked for Feilden Clegg Bradley which was prepared to back them with time and advice.
It was a fascinating process. Once it was over I received a few emails about fund-raising – in particular crowd funding – and then silence. Then last week – TADA!!! – it opened. SPUD had not been successful with the crowd funding buit had managed to raise money from several sources plus sponsorship from timber company James Latham. The design team had worked really hard, and the project, in its first location at Winchester Science Centre, overlooking the South Downs National Park, looked amazingly like the drawings. The artists for the first two locations were all present. Feilden Clegg Bradley is putting on its own exhibition and the architects are to carry out a research project looking at the visual effect and durability of burning the surface of different timbers.
There is a satisfying sense of a project being completed, and also of something that is just beginning.