Kate Maestri, Horizon House. 2011. Image © Jamie Woodley Photography / Ginkgo Projects Ltd.
Horizon House is the Environment Agency's new head office in Bristol which replaced Cabot House, the former home of Bristol Council's Planning department. The building which was completed in late 2010 is a 6,595 sqm office / residential development featuring a new glass work by artist Kate Maestri.
As part of the overall design of Horizon House, Maestri collaborated with the scheme architects, Alec French Architects, to develop an integrated glass work for the two main entrances to the building. The artwork reinforces the architectural statement of the new building, giving it a clear identity and strong sense of place whilst enriching the quality of what is both an office and residential space.
The artist interventions included a glazed entrance pavilion on Deanery Road, and canopies above the residential entrances. The artist aimed to create a flow of colour around the building, forming a unifying link between the different facades and the varied uses of the space. The colour palette used was intended to work in harmony with the materials used across the external facade and with the surrounding buildings.
The use of pattern and colour in the glass work to the entrance lobby relates to both the architectural detailing of the building and the surrounding vistas. The design also creates a link with Bristol Cathedral, which stands diagonally opposite, and has a variety of stained glass windows. Contemporary mouth-blown stained glass is still made in the traditional way, and the use of this material in the glazing for the entrance lobby forms a visual connection between the new 21st-century building and the historic and beautiful city landmark of the Cathedral.
The green glass used is a single hue washed across the glass facade. It deepens from transparency at street level and graduates through to a fully saturated colour at the top. This allows people using the building to have clear visibility through the glass as they enter or leave the building but still gives sufficient definition of colour to create a focal point.
Kate Maestri is an architectural glass artist specialising in innovative uses of contemporary stained glass. She works to commission in collaboration with architects and engineers on site-specific projects. Her designs explore the use of structural and three-dimensional stained glass. The intent is to create an environment in which sculptural glass is experienced as colour, light and form, shaped by the artist.
Current works in progress include a stained glass atrium for Liverpool John Moores University and a glass pedestrian bridge for the new Wolverhampton Travel Interchange. Her recent projects include a glass installation for Evelina Children's Hospital, a ten storey glass tower for a mixed use development in Central London with architects Jestico + Whiles and a 200-metre structural, curved, stained glass balustrade for Foster & Partners at the Sage Music Centre in Gateshead.
Ginkgo Projects is an independent consultancy offering art curation and commissioning services to a wide range of clients.
Our philosophy is driven by a desire to create unique opportunities for artists and designers. We aim to contribute fresh perspectives to built and natural environments that challenge assumptions about the spaces we inhabit.
Our clients include developers, local authorities, landscape and architectural practices and environmental and arts organisations. We create real opportunities for clients and artists to produce innovative work appropriate to the context, whether this is a new building or public space, work that is integrated into a space, stand-alone work or exhibition.
Westmark Developments, Alec French Architects, Environment Agency (occupier)