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Artist Rob Mulholland has scooped an award for his Skytower sculpture in Airdrie, inspired by input from local school children. The sculpture, commissioned by Forestry Commission Scotland, was erected at new community woodland Rawyards in June 2013.
Part of an urban regeneration project of open, unused spaces close to towns, Rob spent time with pupils from St Serfs and Clarkston Primary Schools where he gathered ideas for the nature themed sculpture.
Andy Gallacher, Forestry Commission Scotland community ranger for Airdrie commented:
“The sculpture is fantastic and certainly makes a statement on the landscape. We wanted to find a way of getting the local community involved with the regeneration of the woodland.
“We asked school children to design pieces for Rob to integrate within his work and were blown away by their creativity. They came up with ideas that we'd never have thought about. We’re absolutely thrilled that Rob’s work has received such a prestigious award.”
Rob was inspired on his first visit to the location to create something which reflected the power of nature. The windswept hillside is only about 200 metres above sea level, but he was struck by commanding views and the openness and scale of the landscape and distant sky.
Artist, Rob Mulholland said: “The opportunity to build Skytower was a real pleasure, especially working with the children whose contribution to the overall project was very important. It was really great to receive this award, particularly as it crosses professional boundaries; I never thought I would receive the main architectural award.
“As an artist making public artworks, it’s always interesting to work with the local community to get their input. I conducted workshops with both schools and enjoyed the children's enthusiasm. It was interesting to see their thoughts develop on how we interact with our environment.”
The sculpture is made from cut lengths of metal rod which have been shaped to resemble sticks and willow. Each metal rod is welded and interwoven to create the structure, with over 6,000 welds and 1,400 metres of steel rod.
It was galvanized in one complete section with a total length of six metres, and stands silhouetted against the skyline overlooking central Scotland.
Skytower was awarded winner of the Galvanizing in Architecture category by the Galvanizers Association.
Rob continues to work for Forestry Commission Scotland as artist in residency at Cuningar Loop, a £5.7 million project that is transforming 15 hectares of derelict land on the banks of the River Clyde into an attractive woodland park.
He has worked with community groups for the past 18 months to gather ideas and has completed final designs for two major sculptures. Forestry Commission Scotland is currently submitting funding applications to see these inspirational designs turned in to reality.
Notes to Editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
2. For news, events and recreation information log on to www.facebook.com/enjoyscotlandsforests or https://twitter.com/FCScotlandNews
3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0300 067 6508.