RIBA opens its monumental installation for Hull City of Culture 2017
A Hall for Hull with ‘Trois Points de Vue’ – a joint commission from The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Hull UK City of Culture 2017 – has been unveiled to the public today (2 October, 2017). The monumental temporary installation has transformed Trinity Square with sixteen galvanized steel columns arranged in a grid formation in front of Hull Minster to form a new outdoor ‘room’ for the city.
Chile-based architects Pezo von Ellrichshausen have collaborated with Swiss artist Felice Varini to create the ambitious structure which responds to the historic heart of Hull and will remain in place until 11 November 2017. It has been commissioned to encourage local people to see their city in new and memorable ways and to become a focal point for national and international tourists.
The installation will provide visitors with a range of different experiences as they enter each of the six-metre-high columns, open to the sky. Perforations across the columns’ frosted-like steel skin creates a delicate interplay of light and shadow across the interiors of each inhabited space. Visual and physical contradictions merge as visitors first encounter a series of imposing, static steel columns from a distance but as they move closer the perforations create as feeling of lightness.
The playful optical illusions continue with the artwork applied by international acclaimed artist Felice Varini. Through his practice of op-art, Varini has created three hand-drawn, delicate artworks across the columns that distort and redefine the otherwise rigid geometry of their solid arrangement, challenging perceptions of perspective and scale in this particular public setting. Each artwork aligns from a different viewpoint across Trinity Square, encouraging visitors to meander through the set of columns, leaving the view of the central axis of the church’s nave untouched.
While the Minster is undergoing extensive renovation work, A Hall for Hull will be brought into active use by the church to host performances, relocating their choir to the outside of the Grade I Listed minster, dating back to 1300. However, A Hall for Hull is a new city room for everyone. It is designed with the hope that residents and community groups within and beyond Hull will activate the space for multiple purposes beyond the imagination of the artists. The steel was galvanised by Hull company Wedge Group, ensuring the local community are involved in a variety of different ways.
Although both Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Felice Varini have previously exhibited in London, this is the first time they have developed an artwork jointly. The practice of Pezo von Ellrichshausen that oscillates between art and architecture, embedded in land-art and often located in rural conditions, forms a complimentary relationship with Varini’s op-art practice with the majority of his artworks situated within and upon the urban fabric. This combination here serves to redefine and activate multiple perspectives of a historically-charged public square through a series of experiences as visitors walk around the installation.
Architects Mauricio Pezo & Sofia von Ellrichshausen said: “This installation forms a temporary hypostyle room without a roof, with massive but almost immaterial columns barely open to the sky and to the immediate surroundings. The empty stone-paved square is challenged by the size and disposition of a regular open grid and each column (two metres wide and six metres high) is in fact an inhabitable room with a single entrance pointed to a different direction. The silent vibration of glimmering lights and shadows, together with the very indifference of the grid, is altered by three delicate motives drawn in the air by Swiss artist Felice Varini, which can only be seen towards precise vanishing points.”
The Vicar of Hull Minster, the Rev Canon Dr Neal Barnes, said: “This striking, interactive art installation, which is already getting people talking, will be a very different sight and experience and is sure to bring thousands of visitors into the heart of the Old Town. We’re certainly looking forward to welcoming visitors drawn by this spectacular installation through the doors of the Minster to enjoy more magnificent sights and see the exciting transformation taking place under our development project. A Hall for Hull illustrates the opportunities presented by the creation of a stunning, uninterrupted public space in Trinity Square, reuniting the church and the city. Trinity Square is now the perfect place for a work of this scale which promotes Hull as an ambitious, creative city, emboldened by City of Culture.”
The project, supported by the British Council, has been developed through an invited competition for an architectural and artistic collaboration, with a brief to create a temporary intervention designed specifically for the square. Hull 2017 and RIBA have been working closely with Hull Minster to develop the project. The built structure opened on 2 October 2017, as part of the fourth season of Hull's City of Culture year, entitled 'Tell the World'.
Marie Bak Mortensen, RIBA Head of Exhibitions, said: “Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Felice Varini have developed an exceptional proposal; one where Varini’s abstracted art applied to architectural space aligns with Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s practice of monumental architecture - carefully considered to the scale of Hull Minster and its surrounding square. A Hall for Hull effortlessly fulfils the commission’s aim to push the boundaries of how we observe art, architecture and public spaces and to facilitate unique experiences for residents and newcomers to the city. I look forward to seeing this installation unfold in-situ as RIBA takes its programme outside its dedicated gallery spaces in London and Liverpool.”
Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Felice Varini were chosen from a pool of eighteen outstanding, emerging and established architects practising in the UK and internationally. Trinity Square has benefited from Hull City Council's £25 million public realm improvements programme. This latest transformation will build on the drive to bring new life to this historic part of the city.
Sam Hunt, Executive Producer, Hull 2017, said: "The Hull 2017 Look Up programme is about making people see and experience this amazing city in new and exciting ways. A Hall for Hull will certainly do that, creating a new way of looking at and crossing Trinity Square and observing Hull Minster. It is helping kick off our fourth season and we hope that it will encourage even more people, both residents and visitors, to head to this key destination in the heart of the city."
The selected co-commission, sponsored by Wedge Galvanising, is intended to offer new and memorable experiences that capture the excitement in Hull during 2017. A Hall for Hull is part of ‘Look Up’, a Hull 2017 curated programme of temporary installations in public places and spaces around the city.
Notes to editors:
For further information please contact the RIBA press office: firstname.lastname@example.org; 020 7307 3813 or visit www.architecture.com
For information about Hull 2017, please contact Ben McKnight: email@example.com / 007718 100 793.
1. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. www.architecture.com
Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates www.twitter.com/RIBA
2. Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is a 365 day programme of cultural events and creativity inspired by the city and told to the world. Hull secured the title of UK City of Culture 2017 in November 2013. It is only the second city to hold the title and the first in England. Divided into four seasons, this nationally significant event draws on the distinctive spirit of the city and the artists, writers, directors, musicians, revolutionaries and thinkers that have made such a significant contribution to the development of art and ideas. The Culture Company was set up to deliver the Hull 2017 programme and is an independent organisation with charitable status. It has raised £32 million, with over 70 partners supporting the project, including public bodies, trusts and foundations and local and national businesses. Key contributions are coming from: Host City – Hull City Council; Principal Partners - Arts Council England, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, KCOM, KWL, Spirit of 2012, Yorkshire Water and the University of Hull; Major Partners –Associated British Ports, Arco, BP, the British Council, British Film Institute, Green Port Hull, Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, MKM Building Supplies, P&O Ferries, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Sewell Group, Siemens, Smith & Nephew and Wykeland Group. The National Lottery has contributed more than £10m of this funding, making it the largest single funding body for Hull 2017. For information go to www.hull2017.co.uk Follow us on Twitter @2017Hull Instagram @2017hull Facebook HullCityofCulture
3. Wedge Group Galvanizing - With nearly 150 years of history Wedge Group Galvanizing is the UK's largest hot dip galvanizing organisation. They have 14 plants around the UK which are designed and equipped to set industry leading standards for sustainability and low environmental impact. Wedge has demonstrable experience in working with architects and artists including Antony Gormley and Chris Brammall.
4. The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government. The British Council’s Architecture Design Fashion (ADF) department creates links between designers and cultural institutions around the world, through a diverse range of projects across the three disciplines. For further information about ADF at the British Council, please visit www.britishcouncil.org/design.
5. Additional in-kind support has been granted by setWorks, a production and manufacturing company specialising in the realisation of bespoke objects and environments, Constant Structural Engineering, and RMIG – a company specialising in perforation
6. Look Up is a year-long programme of major public art commissioned by Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and made for the Hull’s public spaces and places, co-curated by Andrew Knight and Hazel Colquhoun. Each installation will reflect Hull’s history, present or future, each will catch passers-by by surprise interrupting the public realm with ideas that amuse, confront or challenge residents and visitors alike. Other Look Up commissions include Nayan Kulkarni’s Blade, a 75 metre long Rotor blade Queen Victoria Square in January this year. The second which runs until the end of the year is Michael Pinsky's The City Speaks which functions as a 21st century Speakers Corner. During seasons two and three, Look Up has seen commissioned works popping up in shopping centres, train stations, car parks, streets and public squares, by artists including Bob & Roberta Smith, Tania Kovats, Chris Dobrowolski and Claire Barber. Look Up has been developed in partnership with a number of organisations and companies including The Deep, GF Smith, Hull School of Art & Design and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
7. The final design was selected by a panel of experts which included:
- Marie Bak Mortensen, Head of Exhibitions, RIBA
- Paul Holloway, Arts and Events Manager, Hull City Council
- Sam Jacob, Architect and Owner, Sam Jacob Studio
- Sarah Mann, Director, Architecture Design Fashion, British Council
- Jane Owen, Operations Manager, Holy Trinity Church
- Sarah Weir, Executive Director, Design Council
- Sam Wilkinson, 'Look Up' Hull 2017