Fields of Learning revisit

Just went back to see how one of our school public artworks is doing, eight years on.

“Fields of Learning”

This was a very complex job, on a very exposed site, and involved lots of different materials, many of them salvaged from the old school as it was being demolished.We worked with the students to develop the concept.

Generally it’s all doing fine,however there has been no ongoing maintenance from the school and this is showing in the letters involving timber, particularly the I and more so on the S. The I is tropical hardwood parquet flooring from the old school dining hall and the varnish has worn off but the timbers are looking ok. However the S, made from the softwood gym bars, is starting to twist and lose a few elements. I think we where a bit naive – in the sub frame construction, [we should have used more steel framing] and in expecting the timber to last and in expecting the school to maintain it. The Letter D was made from new steam bent oak outside with the cedar cladding from the new build on the inside, and decorated with the door furniture from the old school. This is doing fine, however it was also made as a display case for the school to show of current student work etc and sadly it doesn’t look like it’s ever been used. Not that surprised by this as the schools engagement with the project after a good start was quite tenuous and we feel they missed out on a great educational experience.

The F was made using glass blocks from a wall in the old gym, within a new core ten steel frame. The E is steel cage with stone from site and wildflower planting. The L is a series of concrete cubes using the chairs from the dining room as formwork and detail. “of Learning” was made from the old rubber entrance mat, set with coloured resin into new pavers.