Crystal Palace to sculpt a Wilkinson Eyre building

Crystal Palace Campaign Committee launches its plans for a Sculpture Park this week on the site of the old Crystal Palace, including a floating glass building, created by Wilkinson Eyre, which could be home to 4500m2 of exhibition space, restaurants and bars.

Wilkinson Eyre was briefed by the Crystal Palace Campaign committee to create a ‘destination icon’, but also retain the parkland as open green space, says Wilkinson Eyre principal Chris Wilkinson. CPCc chairman Philip Kolvin describes it as ‘creating impact without encroachment’.

The £45m building, which will be made of glass, will be elevated 54m above Crystal Palace Park. The ‘longest moving stairway in the world’ will lift visitors into the main floor exhibition space, with a second mezzanine level planned for restaurants and bars.

The concept is ‘very much my interpretation of what Paxton would do now’, says Wilkinson. ‘It moves [Paxton’s ethos] forward,’ he explains.

South London’s Crystal Palace Park has been the subject of various proposals to the London Development Agency, including a recently rejected plan for a multiplex cinema.

The CPCc, a local campaigning group, aims to create a solution that ‘considers the implications of its contemporary local context,’ says Kolvin.

A survey of local residents established that the site should remain a park, but that a cultural building was desired, he adds. In response, CPCc hopes to create a ‘venue dedicated to sculpture’.

The aim is to ‘attract international artists’ to work in the space and ‘provide an opportunity for new art installations and exhibitions’, adds Kolvin.

Proposals are being put forward for public consultation over the next few months and the CPCc is seeking funding for the project.

If public consultation is successful, it is likely the planning process will begin next year.

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