Colston's Girl's School

Sabine Hornig, Colston's Girl's School (Glazing), 2011. Photo Jamie Woodley. Courtesy of Bristol City Council.


Bristol City Council is currently in the process of completing a number of new schools in the City under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. Included in this series is Colston’s Girl’s School, a successful secondary school founded in 1891 by the Colston’s Hospital Trust and located a few miles from the centre of Bristol.


As part of the development Bristol City Council has commissioned German artist Sabine Hornig and British artist Rodney Harris to create a new artwork within the school building, working closely with the school development team, comprising the school head, staff, pupils, contractor, project architect and other stakeholders.

The design proposal for Colston’s Girl’s School by architects Walters & Cohen involved the addition of a new Arts Block and a new Music Pavilion housing the Music department in the grounds to the rear. The development also included the refurbishment of key areas of the historic school building, including the library and selected teaching areas. The new Arts Block provides state-of-the-art facilities for Art and Drama, accommodating the main student entrance, student cafe, 6th form resource space, multi-use studio and arts studios. The music department has been located in the Music Pavilion within the steep bank north of the playing fields.

For the school Hornig developed an artwork for the Art Block building fronting Cheltenham Road using the extensive glazed façade. The works sees a continuation of Hornig’s ongoing interest in photography, architecture and sculpture, and the shifting relationships between humans and the urban context. Hornig’s work plays with the idea of reflection of exterior space onto interior space, and vice versa, establishing a work where an indeterminate zone is created between reality and the photographic images presented. Based on a photograph of shop windows in Berlin, and the reflection in these same windows, captured via the photographic process, Hornig's work encompasses two glazed areas, and doubles as a screen to block views into the building and pupils.

A second art work for the school was developed by Bristol based sculptor Rodney Harris, which is integrated into the building facade in the form of the school crest. Harris worked closely with the architects and contractor to realise his work, which uses terracotta clay to form a crest, built in the studio in sections and then assembled on site.

Sabine Hornig

Sabine Hornig (German, born 1964) lives in Berlin. She received her B.A. and M.F.A. from the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. Hornig was winner of several awards, including the Karl Schmidt-Rottluff Stipendium in 1998, and from 1999 through 2000, she was a participating artist in the P.S.1 International Studio Program, New York.

Hornig exhibits widely; recent exhibitions ‘Deutsche Bundesbank’, Berlin (site specific installation) 2010; ‘Just Then’, Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon, Portugal, 2010; ‘Die Gegenstände Ziehen Sich Züruck’, Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin, 2009; ‘Gebilde’, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York 2006 (solo), ‘The Second Room’, Centro Cultural de Belem, Lisbon, 2005 (solo); ‘Made in Germany’, Kestner Gesellschaft Hannover, 2007 ( group); ‘Beyond Delirious: Architecture in Selected Photographs from the Ella Fontanals Cisneros Collection’, Ella Fontanals Cisneros Collection, Miami 2005 (group); ‘Collección De Fotografía Contemporánea de Telefónica’, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, Spain, 2005 (group); and ‘Projects 78’, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2003 (solo); among others.

Rodney Harris

Sculptor Rodney Harris is an international artist working mainly with natural materials, Brick Sculpture, Terracotta and Ceramic Sculpture together with socially-engaged projects  and clay workshops.  His Commissions can be seen throughout the UK, Asia and Europe.

Colston’s Girls’ School

Colston’s Girls’ School became an Academy in September 2008, sponsored by the Society of Merchant Venturers. The Academies funding proposal will increase the number of students on the site from 380 to 720 11-18 year olds over a period of five years from September 2008 to September 2012.

  • Commissioner

    Bristol City Council

  • Produced by

    Bristol City Council

  • Partners

    Building Schools for the Future (BCC, Skanska, LEP)

  • Supported by

    Bristol City Council and Colston's Girl's School