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Obelisks by Álvaro Siza and Alison and Peter Smithson Re-Erected in Rural England

Obelisks by Álvaro Siza and Alison and Peter Smithson Re-Erected in Rural England

Two sculptures—Obelisk by Alison and Peter Smithson and Columns by Álvaro Siza Vieira—have been re-erected in Shatwell, a "semi-derelict agricultural complex" located in rural England. The instatement of the monuments form a part of an evolving programme of installations which Drawing Matter, an organisation founded by Niall Hobhouse "that champions the process of architecture through collecting, archiving and commissioning," will use to explore the relationship between architecture, sculpture and landscape.

'Obelisk' / Alison and Peter Smithson. Image © James Morris
'Obelisk' / Alison and Peter Smithson. Image © James Morris

"Obelisk was originally conceived in 1984 by celebrated British architects Alison and Peter Smithson for an intensely urban site in Siena, then reworked in 1994 as a woven spiral called the Inlook Tower (a playful reversal of Patrick Geddes’s Outlook Tower in Edinburgh). Peter lived to see the 15 metre timber obelisk fabricated and first raised into position within the parkland of the estate of Hadspen House, Castle Cary in 2002, in an act of architectural patronage by Drawing Matter’s principal Niall Hobhouse. It was then seen as an obelisk within the landscape, to be viewed in the round, fabricated of oak cut from the trees planted on the estate by Niall’s grandfather, which would weather whitish in the prevailing wind, and reinforced with stainless steel banding and a stainless steel cap."

'Obelisk' / Alison and Peter Smithson. Image © James Morris
'Obelisk' / Alison and Peter Smithson. Image © James Morris

"Columns by Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza was originally commissioned by The Royal Academy of Arts as a site-specific installation in the courtyard of Burlington House in London, as part of the 2014 exhibition Sensing Spaces, in which a select group of contemporary architects created installations exploring the sensory experience of architecture. Cast of bright yellow concrete the ensemble comprises three columns, one of which lies on the ground with its capital beside it, the second stands capital-less, the third with its capital intact. Inspired by the architect’s first response to the original courtyard setting, viewing the Burlington House façade through the archway from Piccadilly, these fragments refer back to the birth of the column."

'Columns' / Álvaro Siza Vieira  in location at London's Royal Academy of Arts. Image © James Harris
'Columns' / Álvaro Siza Vieira in location at London's Royal Academy of Arts. Image © James Harris
'Columns' / Álvaro Siza Vieira . Image
'Columns' / Álvaro Siza Vieira . Image

Siza’s Columns will be sited by Shatwell’s Dairy House (by Skene Catling de la Pena) and the Archive building (by Hugh Strange Architects). A hundred metres to the north, the Smithsons’ Obelisk will stand in open ground between two agricultural buildings, Cowshed and Haybarn (by Stephen Taylor Architects). Current commissions for Shatwell include projects by Clancy Moore Architects, Florian Beigel and Philip Christou, and Siza himself.

Obelisk 
Design: Alison and Peter Smithson
Collaborators: Jim Blackburn, Timber Frame Company, Cameron Scott – Timber Design Limited
Engineer: John Beveridge
Construction: Timber Frame Company
Stainless steel: Bannell Engineering
Project management: Lucas Wilson

Columns 
Design: Álvaro Siza Vieira
Engineer: Sampaio
Fabrication: Pregaia

About this author
Cite: James Taylor-Foster. "Obelisks by Álvaro Siza and Alison and Peter Smithson Re-Erected in Rural England" 03 May 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/786717/drawing-matter-niall-hobhouse-obelisks-by-alvaro-siza-and-alison-and-peter-smithson-re-erected-in-somerset-england/> ISSN 0719-8884
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