Nottingham WWI War Memorial
Dedraft entered an open competition to design and construct a memorial commemorating the 14,000+ local inhabitants of Nottingham who lost their lives during WWI. Located against the backdrop of the existing city war memorial our vision was to create a striking, sculptural centrepiece as part of a more long-term rejuvenation of the Grade II listed memorial gardens and the wider context of the Victoria Embankment.
Designed to appear as a single ‘spun’ element our memorial rises dramatically from an undulating, peeled open ground below. Sited at a nodal point to the south of the memorial garden it would be approached via a network of existing paths being highly visible on approach from all sides and from the Wilford suspension bridge.
Resembling a ‘spun textile spool’ the 14m high memorial sought to reflect on the key role the city’s textile and particularly lace industry had during WWI and the devastating loss and impact witnessed within the city.Rising emphatically from it undulating, circular base 30mm thick circular red sandstone slabs are stacked with their circumference increasing as they rise vertically to create a conical structure. As the sculpture rises the central column penetrates the upper stone element which fans out to form what appears to be stable, but levitating concave conical top of the wider circumference.
This upper element overhanging the central column offers a degree of protection to the central spun core on to which the names of 14,000 casualties of war are engraved. Each name is featured horizontally surrounding the spun perimeter of each vertically stacked slab wrapping the sculpture to form a continuous roll of honour up to 7m.
As a contrast to the pale Portland stone the sculptural is made of stacked, warm-red sandstone offering longevity and durability and making reference to the historical ‘Mansfield Red’- no longer available.
To highlight the key approach paths to the central memorial our scheme proposed insetting 2x2m red sandstone slabs on the approach paths creating heavily planted, contemplative places bringing a visual and material continuity to this reflective area of the parkland.
Competition Entry – Feb 2018