Peterlee public art makes list of iconic UK buildings after inspiring Sir Antony Gormley

Apollo 50 by Mader Wiermann, produced by Artichoke as part of the pavilion’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Credit: Durham County Council

A bold piece of public art in County Durham has been cited as a major inspiration by a Turner prize winning artist.

The Apollo Pavilion in Peterlee was nominated by Angel of the North sculptor Sir Antony Gormley, as part of the Building Centre's 90 for 90 project.

The list of 90 iconic buildings has been chosen by 90 leading figures and is being released month-by-month on its website to celebrate its 90th anniversary.

This month, it included Victor Pasmore's Brutalist creation in the heart of Peterlee’s Sunny Blunts estate, which has inspired many since its completion in 1969.

The Pavillion is being celebrated alongside structures like the Royal Albert Hall and the Shard in London.

Describing it as a utopian inspiration, Sir Antony praised the ambition and integrity of the Apollo and said "the Angel would never have happened without the example of the Apollo Pavillion".

Apollo by Steve Messam, pictured at night as part of the pavilion’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

County Durham landscape artist Steve Messam is thrilled the pavilion is included within the 90 for 90 project.

In 2019, Steve was commissioned by Durham County Council to create an installation at the pavilion to mark its 50th anniversary.

The producers of light festival Lumiere, Artichoke, also received a commission as part of a year of activities to celebrate the milestone, as well as the anniversary of the moon landing, which inspired the pavilion’s name.

Most recently, it has captured the imagination of the team behind Durham’s countywide bid to be UK City of Culture 2025, with plans now being developed for a contemporary art and architecture programme linked to the pavilion and inspired by Pasmore’s archive.

Ged Matthews from the Durham 2025 campaign told ITV Tyne Tees: "So many people in the county don't know about it, so having this is a real opportunity to show a spotlight on these amazing places."

Last month, Durham was one of just four locations from the 20 that originally entered to make the shortlist.

The winner is expected to be announced next month.