Winchester creatives: book your room with a view

Press Release: 04/09/2014

Image of Observatory

Over the past year an unusual project has been taking shape in the offices of Hampshire- based creative practice SPUD (Space, Place-Making and Urban Design).

SPUD most recently brought about the famous Exbury Egg, a beautiful structure that has provided a temporary floating studio in the Beaulieu Estuary for visual artist Stephen Turner and has caught worldwide media attention over the last two years.

The Observatory is their latest brainchild, and is – in SPUD’s words, “a sculpture, a workspace, a shelter and a look-out”. Designed following a hotly-contested competition among architects and artists which concluded in March this year, The Observatory will, once constructed, provide studio space for 12 artist residencies over two years in four locations.

The Observatory will enable artists to interact with the landscape and develop a body of work connected to each place and context. Artists will be drawn from a broad range of disciplines and will be expected to share their work – both in production and on completion - with the public.

The first of the four locations is adjacent to Winchester Science Centre at Morn Hill. Winchester City Council has supported the project since the outset, and proposed the location on the edge of the South Downs National Park. Leader Cllr Rob Humby came along to the workshop which formed part of the design competition last November. He said:

Winchester is known as a creative centre in the South, and we see this as an important economic driver as well as something which enhances the quality of everyday life in our District. I love the design that has been chosen for The Observatory and really hope that it will inspire our creative community to apply for residencies at Morn Hill and potentially also at its next stop on the Sea Wall in Lymington.

The first residencies will begin in Winchester in January 2015 and last a total of six months before The Observatory moves to Lymington in July 2015. Would-be residents are asked to apply on line at!residencies/cyuu . The closing date for submission of proposals is Friday 3 October 2014.

The Observatory has recently received funding from Arts Council England, and corporate sponsorship from James Latham plc who will be providing most of the construction materials.