Plans for a bespoke timepiece sculpture have today been submitted for Queens Gardens.
If approved, Solar Gate would not only be a focal point within the city centre park, but also act as a sundial, highlighting key dates in the city’s history that will be placed as discs of etched stainless steel and integrated with york stone paving earmarked for the area.
Solar Gate would also form part of the renovation of Queens Gardens, which will include a new grand central entrance through from the Rose Bowl. Work is scheduled to begin prior to Christmas, with completion planned in spring 2017. (NB. All other work to transform Queen’s Gardens will begin 2018 as part of the legacy programme).
The plans, which could see the 10m tall piece of art installed into a new spot at the south end of Queens Gardens, have been designed by award-winning architectural practice Tonkin Liu, made up of architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu (bios in notes).
On each date, sunlight will shine through Solar Gate onto the specific disc and highlight that point in time, casting a shadow the space around it.
This modern and unique piece has been amended for its new proposed location and the design now reflects the leafy surroundings of the gardens.
In total, 24 memorable dates and times for events that have shaped our world and Hull’s local history, yet to be agreed, will be marked and celebrated.
Mike Tonkin, Tonkin Liu said:
“Through the alignment of aperture in its two vertical surfaces, Solar Gate marks precise times with light rather than with shadows. Light travels through two spaces, aligned with a specific sun angle, and lands as a disc of light on the ground, illuminating a stainless steel disc with written details of the significance of the corresponding time and date.
“The time piece has been designed through computer programming to create a highly accurate alignment with specific solar angles relating to moments in the cultural calendar tailored to Hull. As with the experience of an eclipse, the waiting for the alignments brings the future, the past, and the present into play.
“At night Solar Gate is illuminated with an ever changing lighting display where its delicacy and undulating geometry is revealed and experienced.
“The advanced technology and the innovative undulating structure employs the latest fabrication techniques to make a deceptively delicate but very robust structure.
“10m tall and 4m wide, the artwork is boat-like in plan, gate-like in elevation, mast-like in side elevation, with a taper to just 10cm. The artwork learns lessons from 500 million years of evolution in sea shell form to make a very strong very light piece produced with the latest digital technologies.”
A formal decision for Planning Committee is likely to be made later this year.
Wider plans for Queen’s Gardens, earmarked for 2018 start, include an impressive new-look, inspired by the 1950’s design including a new performance area and tribute to the late great Mick Ronson.