Sculpture set to become talking piece

A controversial sculpture dubbed the Cheesegrater looks set to continue provoking debate once it is installed in a city park after councillors approved the plans today.

Councillors have approved "Solar Gate" today
Councillors have approved "Solar Gate" today

The 10m tall artwork by architectural practice Tonkin Liu, was given the go-ahead, with a condition attached to address concerns that people with impaired vision or children could fall into a nearby pond, as they back away to get a proper view.

While the sculpture which will act as a sundial, highlighting up to 24 key dates that have shaped the history of Hull and the world, was praised by some councillors, Conservative councillor John Fareham insisted it was “nothing outstanding.”

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But Coun Chris Sumpton said the sculpture “would breathe new life” into a “tired” area, adding: “We have a real feel good factor in the city at the moment. This sculpture can add to that and shed a light on our great history, and I think it will be very popular.”

And Coun Mary Glew agreed it could be a catalyst for transformation and a “talking piece for the future.”

The artwork - which tapers to just 10cm - takes lessons from 500 million years of evolution in sea shell form to make a very strong and light piece produced with the latest digital technologies.

Mike Tonkin, of Tonkin Liu said: “Tonkin Liu are delighted to be delivering a truly innovative structure in the centre of the city to mark the rich history and positive future of the Hull.

“We are very pleased to be marking 2017 City of Culture with a piece that celebrates time through cultural references to the city of Hull.

“The advanced technology and the innovative undulating structure employs the latest fabrication techniques to make a deceptively delicate but very robust structure.”

Work will begin on the sculpture immediately and it will be crafted off-site then lifted into place to coincide with the completion of the revamp of the entrance to Queen’s Gardens in the New Year.

A condition about tactile paving which will have to be laid will be approved by councillors at a later date.