Mobray Park Gate, Sunderland

This commission is very special. Sunderland is my hometown. The position of the Mowbray Park gate is where I stood to catch the tram to school each day. The museum itself is the place in which, as a very young child on visits with my grandfather, my imagination was first fired. I had a one-woman exhibition in the museum in I974. The commission from the City of Sunderland was for a gate to hang at the main entrance to Mowbray Park, a 19th century garden on the grand scale, and the new contemporary glass and steel wing of the museum designed by the architect Michael Glen. The contents of the museum inspired the design of the gate: nature in flower forms and a huge ammonite represent, the garden and the museum’s extensive collection of fossils, found in seams of northern coal; sextants and instruments of navigation; maps and the wheels of mine shafts; lighthouse lights and the architectural plans of ships represent the industry of the area. All cross and intertwine to create the structure of the gate.

The gate is made of mild steel sections, cut by water-jet, welded together into a single curve and backed with light green glass. The glass reflects the sky and the changing weather. Both the surrounding architecture and the park appear suspended in its transparent surface.

The gate, which slides into position on a curved track, becomes a mural in the daytime, when the park is open. At night, when the park is closed, the gate is wound into its final closed position. As late summer sunshine strikes the painted steel, its patterns fall into a sunlit space and the unexpected happens.

MOWBRAY PARK GATE
A SEMI-CIRCULAR SLIDING GATE, WHICH FORMS A MURAL WHEN OPEN
MILD STEEL AND INDUSTRIAL PAINT
1998/2001
CITY OF SUNDERLAND
5 M X 3 M X 12 CM DEEP
PHOTOGRAPHS: GEORGE GAMMER (MODEL), MICHAEL GLEN & KEITH PATTERSON (INSTALLATION)

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Mobray Park Gate, Sunderland





Computer Drawing for Mobray Park Gate, Sunderland