The art of ageing gracefully

Tom Hughes

On Sunday I revisited the memorial project for the Nottingham Progressive Jewish Congregation. It was finished three years ago, and the beauty of the stone is now really coming through.

The Clipsham limestone we specified has mellowed down in colour and is showing a nice patina whilst the twisting coping stones and faced block to the interior look as crisp as ever.

Clipsham is a local stone with a noble pedigree- quarried less than 40 miles from the site of the memorial, it was used in the construction of Windsor Castle in the 14th Century and at King's College Chapel in Cambridge.

The coping stones were 'spun' into shape on site from a harder york stone, giving them a sharper line, greater weathering resistance and a darker blue/brown appearance.

Portfolio project
A stone memorial for a Jewish congregation

Tom Hughes

This project is the result of our combined interests in public art, craftsmanship and education. Starting as a student design competition that we organised at Nottingham Trent University for the Nottingham Progressive Jewish Congregation, our design process became an involved exploration of traditional stone walling techniques and complex numerical modelling to create a solemn yet welcoming landscaped space.

This project was shortlisted for the RIBA East Midlands Award for Architecture 2011.

The completed stome memorial, with collaborating artist Igor Barteczko

We were approached by the client to create a memorial structure for their congregation’s cemetery on an exposed hillside with excellent views over the Trent valley. We proposed, set up and ran a design competition for students, then collaborated with the winner to bring the project to completion. We redesigned the competition winning entry, working with the student in the role of project artist, to ensure buildability and adherence to a very restricted budget.

Our innovations on this project include a rejuvenation of traditional craft building techniques and the use of three dimensional computer modelling to achieve the twisting shape using stonework. We developed a custom plugin for our 3D modelling software to help us explore alternative geometries with the stone masons and produce the required three-dimensional templates for the preparation of the curved ashlar stonework.

The first commemorative plaques, on the curved ashlar.

The resulting structure creates a strong sense of place with an intense focus for ceremonial purposes, whilst also framing views out and welcoming visitors in.

The Memorial viewed from the cemetery entrance.

Two 2hD projects shortlisted for RIBA EM Awards

Thibaut Devulder

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the shortlisted projects for the 2011 RIBA East Midlands Award for Architecture, celebrating the finest examples of architectural excellence in the region.

We are delighted that two of our projects have been shortlisted for this year's award:

Our stone memorial for the Nottingham Progressive Jewish Congregation

Our inflatable event space for the Lille Museum of Modern Art (LaM).