Heartlands scheme to turn mine site into heritage centre

An arts commissioning programme is set to bring work by a host of international artists and designers to a multi-million-pound community-led development in Cornwall.

The Heartlands project aims to transform a derelict tin-mine site in Pool into a development featuring parkland and cultural and heritage facilities. Work has started on-site and the development is set to complete towards the end of next year. The project is led by Cornwall County Council, but the aim is to hand it over to the community after completion so that Heartlands can operate as a social enterprise.

Work started in earnest on the £35m scheme in 2007, after it was awarded £22.3m in Lottery cash. Cornwall Council and the Homes and Communities Agency have also provided funding for the project.

The architectural design of the site is being led by Stride Treglown, while Cornwall-based Gendall Design has created the branding and a blog-style website for the site. The consultancy says full functionality for the website, with theatre booking, e-commerce and interactive visitor information, will launch when Heartlands opens.

Heartlands will play host to a public art programme, which will include work by Japanese architect Atelier Bow-Wow and Bristol-based Walter Jack Studio.

Sarah Williams, project manager for art and culture for the Heartlands project, says the artists were appointed following a tender process in early 2008 and responded to briefs created through community consultation.

Williams says, ’What emerged from the consultation was that the community wanted to see gateways – they wanted works that would raise aspirations as you enter the park. They wanted something they could be proud of and something that would give Heartlands an identity.’ She adds, ’The theme of seams and veins also came up, as the development is on the site of a former tin mine.’

Williams says the Heartlands team worked with the Helen Hamlyn Centre and consultancy STBY to help bring the community into the design process, with the outcome of this work feeding into both the public-art briefs and the architectural design of the site.

Atelier Bow-Wow is creating works for two gateway installations on the site, for the northern and southern gateways. The architect says it plans to collaborate with the community in the development of both projects and that the community will be encouraged to build and maintain them. Initial concepts are for a ’ghost-like’ structure at the northern gateway and a spring concept, which will use the site’s natural elements, on the southern gateway.

Walter Jack Studio is developing a ’crushed’ concrete wall, which will act as a visual link between Pool village and the Heartlands site. A sample of the wall was exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum as part of this year’s London Design Festival.

Williams says, ’As well as ensuring an inclusive design process, there was a lot of work on the commissioning side – we wanted to make sure all the pieces hung well together.’

The artworks

  • Atelier Bow-Wow – two site gateway installations
  • David Mackie – seams and veins pieces in the gardens
  • Michael Rowe – mineral wall within the buildings
  • Walter Jack Studio – crushed concrete wall
  • Wolfgang Buttress – Pool way-marker
  • Nicky Neate – architectural totems integrated to the site
  • Kingsley Baird – textile project to be incorporated into the Bobel Community Building
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