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New artwork set to replace iconic landmark Sheffield towers

The new work has been billed as "a new cultural beacon" and "one of the most ambitious public artworks ever conceived". Photo: Alex Chinneck

Nearly a decade after the controversial demolition of two landmark cooling towers in Sheffield, a huge new artwork is to be created in the same area.

The new work has been billed as "a new cultural beacon" and "one of the most ambitious public artworks ever conceived".

Details have been announced for a new set of chimneys which will tower up to 30 metres over the area between Rotherham and Sheffield, filling a visual gap left by the knocking down of the Tinsley Towers in 2008.

The four sculptural, red brick chimneys will border, bridge and illuminate the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal.

The four sculptural, red brick chimneys will border, bridge and illuminate the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal. Credit: Alex Chinneck

They will be close to the site of the Tinsley Towers - the two 76 metre tall cooling towers that became a symbol of South Yorkshire as they stood for 70 years, latterly by the M1.

The new work - Onwards & Upwards - is a sculptural trail that highlights the past, present and potential of the area, according to artist Alex Chinneck.

Sheffield City Council has described the piece, due to be installed in 2019, as a "new cultural beacon for Sheffield".

A spokesman said: "Four towering chimneys, each stretching up to 30 metres high and spread across one mile, have been designed to act as spectacular cultural beacons - attracting visitors from the length and breadth of the UK.

"Each sculpture is equivalent to the size of a 10-storey building, making it one of the most ambitious public artworks ever conceived.

"Together they have a collective height of 150 metres, incorporating 100,000 bespoke curving bricks, wrapped around a stainless steel core."

The new work - Onwards & Upwards - is a sculptural trail that highlights the past, present and potential of the area, according to artist Alex Chinneck. Credit: Alex Chinneck

The four structures will be a cracked chimney broken into 250 pieces and illuminated from within; a hovering chimney; two leaning chimneys dramatically bridging the canal; and a curving chimney, playfully tied into a knot.

Mr Chinneck said: "Tinsley has a proud and important industrial heritage and many chimneys once lined the canal.

"Through a process of architectural re-introduction, sculptural re-imagination and modern manufacturing, we have attempted to create a regionally relevant and nationally significant cultural attraction.

"The artwork is being made for Sheffield, by Sheffield, and represents a monumental achievement that is only possible by working in partnership with the unrivalled concentration of world-class companies found in the city."

Tinsley Towers being demolished in a controlled explosion. Nearly a decade after the controversial demolition of the two landmark cooling towers, a huge new artwork set to be created in the same area has been billed as Credit: PA Images

Previous projects by Mr Chinneck include a hovering building in Covent Garden, in London, and a house made of 7,500 wax bricks, which melted over 45 days.

He recently installed a temporary sculpture in Tinsley which appeared to show a one-tonne car hanging upside-down from a curling strip of road surface.

Local councils and community organisers have worked with sponsors E.ON, who awarded the commission to replace the much-loved Tinsley Towers.

The towers were once part of the Blackburn Meadows power station and E.ON has now built a new biomass plant on the site.

Tim Eastop, from the Canal & River Trust, said: "We hope this major new commission will help even more people to get to know their local canals and rivers as fantastic places to relax, reflect and enjoy art."

Tinsley Towers, a pair of iconic cooling towers near to the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, South Yorkshire which were brought down in a controlled explosion. Credit: PA Images