Parabola of Peace

A sculptural piece inspired by industrial and architectural heritage

Sam Kapasa was one of 30 designers considered for the design for a temporary sculpture in the grounds of the Peace Hall, Halifax. As the first sculpture commission of its kind within the Peace Hall, this proves a challenging and deeply significant brief in one of the countries most aspirational spaces. The 66,000-square-foot piazza, is striking, It’s vast open space powerful in its architectural commitment to classical principles of space.The competition proposal seeks to maximise this opportunity by using every architectural reference at my disposal to create a metaphysical interpretation of the negative space of the square and the positive architectural perimeter. The sculpture mathematically looms the rigid existing grid through a repeated parabolic profile. This form differentiates the building’s architectural regularity into something free flowing yet euclidean in form. It sculpturally seeks to do something bold and deliberate within the square. The circular form at the base the sculpture heralds back to early committee suggestions for the peace hall to be circular in it’s plan. This sculptural design echoes the potential manifestations of palladian influence on the Peace Hall. The sculpture draws on the Peace Hall’s romanticist view in John Wilson Anderson’s painting of the subject in the mid 19th Century. It adopts a mathematical romanticism, by drawing on immediate geometric influences to sculpturally express the aspiration of the space.

At the time of it’s construction, the Peace Hall was a remarkably radial and aspirational proposal, therefore the sculpture is designed with this spirit in mind. The sculpture must not become overwhelmed by the grandeur and enforcement of the architecture, rather it must present a sort of boldness in the space whilst reinforcing and reflecting the strength of the square. Instead of getting lost within the vast open space, the sculpture seeks to organically flow from the spatial conditions of the site. The Parabola of Peace does not exist in isolation but draws it’s form and essence from the inspirational perimeter of the square. The surrounding interwoven grid acts as a loom to the rectilinear grid, by introducing circular form the sculpture reflects the traditional loom mechanisms that are visible in the earlier stages of cloth production, which would then be delivered to the fulling mills for completion in Halifax. This light temporary measure acts as an extension of the sculpture itself and breaks down the large space in a curatorial fashion. Exhibited pieces can place themselves within the wider circular grid forming a consistent and strong visual theme in the square. This works to overcome one of the challenges of external exhibition, which is having a common continuum that brings a variety of pieces together. Red tape acts as a metaphor for legislative challenges that occur within the world of art, by becoming the art form itself – it subverts this issue through slight and subtle irony.

The Parabola of Peace is defined by the cultural programme of activities it supports, the sculpture is not led simply by form, rather the form is driven by the ever changing sculpture of public activity. The geometric structure, much like the hall is the crystallisation of trade, use and activity. The sculpture seeks to dynamically facilitate a foreground of activity within the square. The design takes current activities into consideration such as market trading or public gatherings whilst looking forward to the forthcoming artistic programme in 2019. The form of the sculpture expresses and celebrates the axis at the centre of this significant gathering space. Similarly it seeks to celebrate the rich variety of activities within the square by creating a deliberate landmark within the space to anchor particular events such as performance or casual seated use. The Peace Hall used architectural and mathematical reference to embody the aspirations of it’s time, the Parabola of Peace utilises digital fabrication and formulae to look forward to the familiar yet changing paradigms of trade, culture and place.

Collaborators: Peace Hall
Location: Halifax

Status: Competition Entry

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