RIBA and Hull 2017 put architecture centre stage in City of Culture year

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Hull UK City of Culture 2017 have jointly commissioned Chile-based architects Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Swiss artist Felice Varini to design an ambitious temporary outdoor structure in response to the historic heart of Hull.

A Hall for Hull is part of the Hull 2017 ‘Look Up’ programme of public art installations and will transform Trinity Square with sixteen galvanised steel columns arranged in a grid formation in front of Hull Minister to highlight the symmetry of its facade. Visitors to the installation will be able to inhabit each of the six-metre-high columns and experience varying light conditions created by perforations in the steel skin. The rigid geometry of the columns will be carefully distorted and redefined by the artwork of Varini, challenging perceptions of perspective and scale in this particular public setting.

The project, supported by the British Council, has been developed through an invited competition for an architectural and artistic collaboration, with a brief to create a temporary intervention designed specifically for the square. Hull 2017 and RIBA have been working closely with Hull Minster to develop the project. The built structure will launch on 1 October 2017, as part of the fourth season of Hull’s City of Culture year, entitled ‘Tell the World’.

Marie Bak Mortensen, RIBA Head of Exhibitions, said:

“Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Felice Varini have developed an exceptional proposal; one where Varini’s abstracted art applied to architectural space aligns with Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s practice of monumental architecture – carefully considered to the scale of Hull Minster and its surrounding square. Visual and physical contradictions merge as visitors to Trinity Square will be met by imposing, static steel columns that are open to the sky and whose perforations create as feeling of lightness. Adding Varini’s illusionist artwork that beguiles the viewer, A Hall for Hull effortlessly fulfils the commission’s aim to push the boundaries of how we observe art, architecture and public spaces and to facilitate unique experiences for residents and newcomers to the city. I look forward to seeing this installation unfold in-situ as RIBA takes its programme outside its dedicated gallery spaces in London and Liverpool.”

Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Felice Varini were chosen from a pool of eighteen outstanding, emerging and established architects practising in the UK and internationally. Trinity Square has benefited from Hull City Council’s £25 million public realm improvements programme. This latest transformation will build on the drive to bring new life to this historic part of the city.

Sam Hunt, Executive Producer, Hull 2017, said:

“The Hull 2017 Look Up programme is about making people see and experience this amazing city in new and exciting ways. A Hall for Hull will certainly do that, creating a new way of looking at and crossing Trinity Square and observing Hull Minster. It is helping kick off our fourth season and we hope that it will encourage even more people, both residents and visitors, to head to this key destination in the heart of the city.”

The selected co-commission, supported by Wedge Galvanising, is intended to offer new and memorable experiences that capture the excitement in Hull during 2017. A Hall for Hull is part of ‘Look Up’, a Hull 2017 curated programme of temporary installations in public places and spaces around the city.

The final design was selected by a panel of experts which included:

  • Marie Bak Mortensen, Head of Exhibitions, RIBA
  • Paul Holloway, Arts and Events Manager, Hull City Council
  • Sam Jacob, Architect and Owner, Sam Jacob Studio
  • Sarah Mann, Director, Architecture Design Fashion, British Council
  • Jane Owen, Operations Manager, Holy Trinity Church
  • Sarah Weir, Executive Director, Design Council
  • Sam Wilkinson, ‘Look Up’ Hull 2017