Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Design a midtown habitat

We have just discovered that an open competition has been launched for the design of urban beehives, bird/bat boxes and planters. See here for more details. Don't be put off by the fact that the Architecture Foundation is running the competition, it is open to all designers. So where's your pencil ... ? Or maybe it's a photograph of something you have already built?

Monday, 7 November 2011


On Sunday 23rd October several families explored the gardens and galleries.

We looked at the project blog, to learn what other people's experience of the gardens has been over the year. We discussed what 'wild' might mean in terms of a place. People came up with some great describing words e.g. wonky, overgrown, spikey, dangerous, dense, deep. We agreed that these are special qualities that should be maintained in the garden.

We looked at a small sculpture by Haroon Mizra. He used a mirror to reflect a bisected green vinyl record to appear as a complete circle, the work creates the illusion of depth and invite us to imagine echoed sounds. Playing with green square and triangular motifs and mirror sheets, we created new shapes and deep, unending spaces.

On our way to the garden we looked at Nathalie Djurberg's work in the foyer. She had installed abstract swirls of coloured gels on the glass panels in the ceiling. As the sunlight changes it reveals magical, fleeting pools of colour of the walls and floor.

In the garden the fearless adventurers journeyed beyond the barriers to explore the wild edges.

Although we couldn’t see or hear any birds, we found some feathers which indicated a place birds might gather, along with a snail and a space we thought might be a fox nest. We used our mirror sheets as a periscope to view the contents of the bird table and as reflectors to create pools of light on the ground, the tree trunks, the garden shed and gallery walls and Ashley's jumper!

We gathered fallen leaves, twigs, feathers, berries and seeds, (like Nathalie we employed the sunshine) and produced sunprints. We identified the source of some of the leaves – in hawthorn, rowan, sycamore and plum trees.

We learned some of the varieties of birds that have been spotted by staff and made drawings which were brought together with real leaves in a collage of a wild space hosting a variety of birds.

We took this collage into gallery 3 to face and respond to Angus Fairhurst's paintings of uninhabited wild spaces before taking the bird drawings and sunprints home.

Autumn animations

Friday 21 st October Year 4 pupils from Holy Trinity School returned to the galleries and gardens to explore changes that have occurred since summer.

Birdsong from ashley mccormick on Vimeo.

Birds nesting from ashley mccormick on Vimeo.

Autumn session

On Friday 21st October Year 2 pupils from Holy Trinity School returned to the galleries and gardens for the Autumn session. Pupils considered the definition of a 'wild' space. Some pupils suggested it might be a space that nobody looks after - somewhere untidy - somewhere muddled - a messy place. We explored ideas about mess and order, making ordered patterns and random muddles with square and triangle motifs (inspired by the title of Haroon Mizra's work in gallery 3: I saw square triangle sine).

We looked at some patterns produced by William Morris, and the ways he uses repetition, rhythm, symmetry and two shades of one colour to organise motifs from nature including leaves, seeds, flowers, rabbits and birds.

In the garden we gathered lots of different fallen leaves and sunshine to make magical sunprints, which someone described as "ghosts of leaves". We looked for symmetry in the leaves and prints. Back at school the prints will be used to develop repeating patterns.

We listened closely to the natural sounds, including birdsong and wind rustling the last leaves clinging to the branches and practised mimicking these sounds.

In the gallery we marched around gallery 3 and performed our version of the garden noises adding to Haroon Mizra's soundscape.