Greenwich Peninsula Low Carbon Energy Centre revealed

Greenwich Peninsula Low Carbon Energy Centre revealed - C.F. Møller. Photo: C.F. Møller
Photographer: C.F. Møller

6.2.2015

C.F. Møller Architects, artist Conrad Shawcross and developer Knight Dragon reveal design of a major new art and architecture collaboration for the Greenwich Peninsula Low Carbon Energy Centre.

British artist Conrad Shawcross, has been commissioned to provide a high profile architectural intervention and his largest public commission to date for the entrance to Greenwich Peninsula in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. This commission will reimagine the 49 metre high tower which forms part of a new Low Carbon Energy Centre designed by C.F. Møller Architects due to be built on Greenwich Peninsula in 2015 and completed in 2016.

Shawcross’ response which is titled Lenticular Dazzle Camouflage unites sophisticated engineering and complex optic research to create an impressive sculptural concept on a huge scale. The artist’s intention is to create an ambiguous and beguiling surface that disturbs and dematerializes the massing of the tower structure, producing a form that remains abstract and hard to define yet one which could potentially become a talking point for the local and wider community. The design uses both First World War 'dazzle camouflage' - the paradox of camouflage whereby objects that are supposed to be hidden are in fact made both more visible and arresting – and ideas found in Cubist and Futurist paintings in which an object’s surface is broken up, creating false perspectives and vanishing points.

The cladding for the structure will be formed of hundreds of triangular panels, each the height of a London bus. These tiles fold and flow across the surface of the tower forming complex geometric patterns that visually break up the flat planes to create an uneven, sculpted surface that plays with the vanishing points and perspective, and leaves the viewer unsure of where the form begins or ends. The panels are perforated so as to exploit the phenomena of the Moiré Effect and create an object that changes in appearance when it is viewed from different locations or vantage points and at different times of the day. As the two main surfaces of the tower sit east to west, the structure will filter the light of the sun and sky enhancing both the form and the visual effect of the Moiré. At night an integrated lighting design will produce a shifting series of ‘compositions‘ lit from within the structure.

The Low Carbon Energy Centre tower was identified as a canvas for a public art commission by project curators Futurecity to support Knight Dragon’s commitment to art and culture across their development. Futurecity organised a competition and shortlisting process and Conrad Shawcross’s design was selected by a panel from a short list of three artists.

This commission is part of a wider cultural programme on the Peninsula. A new contemporary art gallery, the NOW Gallery opened in September 2014 with an installation by designer Simon Heijdens and a series of cross art-form events, and a new commission by Robert Orchardson follows in late January 2015; the Lazarides Editions printworks are currently housed on the Peninsula and performing arts collective Shunt launched the Peninsula’s new riverside venue with a site-specific show in August 2014.


Conrad Shawcross (Artist):
"It has been hugely interesting and rewarding to respond in a more architectural way to this very unique brief. My visual solution has been driven by a genuine desire to create something beautiful but beguiling. One key issue I have remained very conscious of and have used as a driver for the idea, is the fact that this a low carbon Energy Centre for the Peninsula and so the lightness and efficiency of the structure and form has been at the core of my thinking and the development of the design."

Mark Davy, Futurecity (Curator):
"Three major pieces of work by three Royal Academicians permanently on show for South East Londoners, as Conrad Shawcross RA’s totemic 50 metre ‘Lenticular Dazzle’ design joins Richard Wilson RA’s ‘Slice of Reality’ and Sir Anthony Gormley RA’s ‘Cloud Index’ for Greenwich Peninsula."

Chris Fay, C.F. Møller Architects (Lead Architect):
"We were delighted that Knight Dragon realised the opportunities this commission presented and continue to support the ambitious proposals developed with Conrad that will create a striking addition to the London skyline and in doing so, bring attention to the possibilities of the processes inside."

Notes to Editors:

Conrad Shawcross RA
Imbued with an appearance of scientific rationality, Conrad Shawcross' sculptures explore subjects that lie on the borders of geometry and philosophy, physics and metaphysics. Attracted by failed quests for knowledge in the past, he often appropriates redundant theories and methodologies to create ambitious structural and mechanical montages, using a wide variety of materials and media . often cloaked in the aesthetic of the rational and the designed, his machines and structures remain enigmatic, filled with paradox and wonder. Some have an absurdist melancholy feel, while others tend to the sublime. Further aspects of his work investigate idealised geometry , the mathematics of music and the philosophy of number.

Shawcross was born in 1977 in London, where he currently resides and works. In 2013 he was elected a Royal Academician and is the youngest living RA . He has recently had solo presentations at ARTMIA Foundation, Beijing (2014); the Roundhouse, London (2013); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); MUDAM, Luxembourg (2012); Science Museum, London (2011 - 2012); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011); and Oxford Science Park (2010). His work has also been exhibited internationally at institutions and events including the Royal Academy, London (2014); Mofo festival, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania (2014); the 55th Venice Biennale (2013); Grand Palais, Paris (2013); Hayward Gallery, London (2013); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2012); National Gallery, London (2012); Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel (2012); Centre d'Art Bastille, Grenoble (2012); Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence (2011); Park De Oude Warande, Tilburg (2011); Palazzo Fortuny, Venice (2011); Gervasuti Foundation, Venice (2011); CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2011); Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania (2011); and Kunsthal in Amersfoort (2010).

Shawcross's first public realm commission Space Trumpet, installed in the atrium of the refurbished Unilever Building in London in 2007, won the Art & Work 2008 Award for a Work of Art Commissioned for a Specific Site in a Working Environment, and in 2009 he was awarded the Illy prize for best solo presentation at Art Brussels. From 2009 - 2011 Shawcross was Artist in Residence at the Science Museum, London. In 2012 Shawcross, along with Chris Ofili and Mark Wallinger, was invited to create works inspired by Titian's masterpieces for the project Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, an ambitious collaboration with the National Gallery and Royal Ballet for the Cultural Olympiad. The artist's robotic installation The ADA Project was in residence at the Vinyl Factory Space, London, during October 2014 for a collaborative series of projects, and his work Timepiece has served as an anchoring symbol of the 2014 - 2015 concert season Interplay at Berwaldhallen, Stockholm. www.victoria-miro.com/artists/13-Conrad-Shawcross

Knight Dragon - owned by Dr Henry Cheng Kar-Shun – is responsible for the redevelopment of Greenwich Peninsula which will be a thriving district with 1.6 miles of waterfront, 48 acres of open green space, 10,000 homes and a commercial district encompassing 3.5 million square feet of shops, hotels, schools and public facilities. Knight Dragon offers a rare combination of scale, vision, stability and expertise, making it uniquely positioned to deliver a distinctive and sustainable new destination at Greenwich Peninsula. They have the long-term vision and financial backing to ensure the project’s success and their team balances international scale and resources with expert local knowledge. They are responsible for project and development management of the site. www.knightdragon.com / www.greenwichpeninsula.co.uk

Futurecity is the curator of the commission. Futurecity is a leading culture and placemaking agency responsible for a large number of multi-disciplinary art projects including the recent 78 metre Richard Wilson sculpture ‘Slipstream’ for Heathrow’s new Terminal 2, Mark Wallinger’s 50 metre ‘White Horse’, part of a placemaking strategy for Ebbsfleet Valley, and the ‘Culture Line’ public art strategy for Crossrail, which will deliver art installations for eight stations awarded to artists from eight international galleries. Futurecity works with artists interested in a collaborative relationship with other disciplines, whether science, architecture or engineering. Futurecity works with curators, galleries and museums, championing artists who are changing the way art is presented in the public realm. Futurecity is concerned with contemporary art’s place outside of the gallery, studio and museum. www.futurecity.co.uk

C.F. Møller Architects are the lead architects of the Energy Centre Building. They are one of Scandinavia’s oldest and largest architectural practices and are also designing one of the new housing developments within the Greenwich Peninsula site. Their award-winning work involves a wide range of expertise. They regard environmental concerns, resource consciousness, social responsibility and good craftsmanship as essential elements in their work, and this holistic view is fundamental to all their projects, from master plans to design. Simplicity, clarity and unpretentiousness are ideals that are continuously re-interpreted to suit individual projects.

Greenwich Peninsula Low Carbon Energy Centre will house technically advanced boilers and Combined Heat & Power (CHP) that will provide heat energy to the businesses and 10,000 homes due to be built on the Peninsula in the coming years and is part of the Peninsula’s Sustainability Strategy. Heat energy will be distributed via a District Heating Network (DHN) from the Energy Centre to each plot across the development. In this way, the Energy Centre could save 15-20 thousand tonnes of carbon. This type of technology is considered one of the core answers to address the National Grid’s deemed 2% spare capacity and responds to the a cross-party drive to increase the use of CHP across the UK and to realize a vision of decentralized energy power generation in London. To demystify the process of energy generation, the Energy Centre will house a Visitor Centre offering an interactive educational experience for prearranged groups of visitors. The building footprint allows for flexibility in adopting energy technology over the building’s substantial lifetime.

For more information please contact:

Teva Hesse, head of C.F. Møller's London Branch | th@cfmoller.com | +44 (0)20 7427 1530

Julia Huff or Jay Shadwick at Purple: julia@purplepr.com | jay@purplepr.com | +44 (0) 7434 7010

Photographer: C.F. Møller

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