Sunday, November 7, 2010

Winning design for Spitfire museum...

Winning design chosen for national Spitfire memorial

A Spitfire soaring majestically into the sky has been selected as the winning design for a national memorial to the wartime aircraft.

Winning design chosen for national Spitfire memorial
Mr Hancock, 36, who has a studio in north London, said he was 'over the moon' after learning his concept will be used for a stunning new landmark on Southampton's waterfront.
The design by Nick Hancock, an architect, was chosen from hundreds of entries in a public contest, backed by The Sunday Telegraph, to create a permanent tribute to the Spitfire in Southampton, the city where it was designed and first built.
Mr Hancock, 36, who has a studio in north London, said he was "over the moon" after learning his concept will be used for a stunning new landmark on the city's waterfront.
His winning entry features a polished steel Spitfire appearing to rise high above the coastline, supported by a steel mast attached to its tail. It was picked from a shortlist of seven by the Spitfire Tribute Foundation, which is organising the memorial.
"I've never had an opportunity to design something as special as this – the Spitfire is a true reflection of British ingenuity and tenacity," said the Australian, whose previous projects have included working for Richard Rogers Partnership to design one of the new towers at the World Trade Centre site in New York, and, more recently, designing a stadium grandstand for the football World Cup in South Africa.
"The challenge was to come up with a design that embodied the movement and flight of what is an incredibly beautiful aircraft. It needed to feel as free as possible."
Along with creating a lasting memorial to an icon he has long viewed with wonder, Mr Hancock will be rewarded with a flight in a two-seater Spitfire, originally designed by R.J. Mitchell.
"That is one of my childhood dreams. I used to build model aircraft and one of the first I ever made was a Mk5 Spitfire. But it always frustrated me that they came on a mobile stand. I used to pull them apart and use coathangers to make them look as if they were really flying.
"To now be given the opportunity to create a monument for the Spitfire is mind-blowing."
Sited at the water's edge at the city's Trafalgar dock, the design envisages a structure 131 feet (40 metres) tall, twice the height of the Angel of the North, that promises to provide visitors, both from land and sea, with a striking welcome.
Readers of The Sunday Telegraph have contributed nearly £10,000 towards the project. That money will now be used to help take the successful design through a series of development phases to the point of construction.
Meanwhile, organisers will run a campaign for sponsorship to fund the monument, which is expected to cost £2 million.
John Hannides, a Southampton councillor and chairman of the Spitfire Tribute Foundation, said Mr Hancock's design was picked for its feasibility as an actual monument as well as its aesthetic qualities.
"We were very impressed with the designs we received and choosing a winner was difficult. It was close but in the end we came to the conclusion that Nick Hancock's design was the best concept," he said.
He added that the foundation was "extremely grateful" for the "fantastic support" of readers of The Sunday Telegraph.
"With the design in place, we will now be able to target corporate and grant-making bodies and trusts. The Spitfire evokes much more than just the Second World War.
"It's about courage, innovation, hope and freedom. These are things as relevant today, and for future generations, as they were in the past."
Squadron Leader Alan Jones, director of the city's Solent Sky museum and a member of the foundation, said Mr Hancock was chosen for his "clean, elegant design".
"The great difficulty with putting it on a stand is that you have to fix it somewhere. The winning design has the mast attached narrowly at the tail of the aircraft, so it doesn't detract from Mitchell's original sculpture."
The single-engine aircraft was designed in 1936 at the city's Supermarine seaplane factory as the Air Ministry sought planes for the looming conflict with Germany.
The Spitfire played a critical role in the Battle of Britain in 1940, during which the RAF defeated attempts by the German Luftwaffe to gain air superiority, and helped to frustrate Adolf Hitler's plans for an invasion of Britain.
The competition's runner-up was James Burnell, 64, an artist from Bournemouth, Dorset, who submitted a design made from composite materials, such as glass fibre and resin, supported on a steel column.

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