Located in Flint, Flintshire, Flint Castle was the first of a series of castles that formed a chain of fortresses known as Edward I's "Iron Ring." As part of the King's campaign to conquer Wales, the castle was built in local Millstone Grit ashlar and sandstone by 1,800 laborers and masons. The site has stood for over 700 years and today is managed as a public monument.
In an effort to rejuvenate the town of Flint and draw in tourists, the city has been working towards a multi-million pound regeneration plan that includes transforming the castle into a key site for tourism. Part of this transformation includes the installation of a stainless-steel spiral staircase and other improvements, but the most expensive will be the addition of a £400,000 landmark sculpture, the plans for which were unveiled yesterday.
Following a nation-wide competition to obtain proposals for an artwork concept celebrating Wales’ Year of Legends, the panel—comprised of the Welsh Government and sponsored body, Arts Council for Wales—has selected the winning design. Submitted by George King Architects, the design is for a giant iron ring meant to reference the chain of castles Flint belongs to as well as, more symbolically, the crown. George King, one of the architects behind the ambitious design, said "the sculpture will take a balanced form, some buried beneath the ground, the remainder projecting into the air, to demonstrate the unstable nature of the crown." As described in Shakespeare's Richard II, Flint is the site where Richard II famously surrendered the crown to Henry IV.
The sculpture will potentially stand at 23 feet high and 98 feet wide and is designed as a cantilevered bridge structure formed from weathering steel. Visitors will be able to walk along the bridge, which will be engraved with words and sayings chosen by the community that celebrate local landmarks, historic towns, and their links with Flint Castle. "The sculpture has been carefully designed to work at many scales. From afar its striking, iconic form resembles a giant ancient artifact, washed up on the shore of the Dee Estuary" King said. “Its scale and dynamic appearance means that it will become an instantly recognizable landmark for the area. However, as you approach the sculpture it becomes obvious that the piece is more than just a sculpture.”
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