Skytower was commissioned by Forestry Commission Scotland for their new woodland park at Rawyards in Airdrie, the project being part of the urban regeneration of open, unused spaces close to towns.
The artist was inspired on his first visit to the location to create something which reflected the power of nature. The windswept hillside is only about 200 metres above sea level, but he was struck by commanding views and the openness and scale of the landscape and distant sky.
The sculpture is made from cut lengths of metal rod which have been shaped to resemble sticks and willow. Each metal rod is welded and interwoven to create the structure, with over 6,000 welds and 1,400 metres of steel rod. The sculpture was galvanized in one complete section with a total length of 6 metres, and stands silhouetted against the skyline overlooking Central Scotland.
It is purposefully geometric with references to standing monolithic stones and historical architectural structures. This man–made structure battles against the elements on a windswept hillside. In a moment an unseen force, a sudden gust of wind, an unstoppable force of nature rips through the fragile structure scattering the branches and re-shaping the tower. This moment of flux is captured and frozen in time. The image defies gravity as the sticks are suspended, floating in mid-air. In a sense one loses control over the structure, it becomes an active element of the environment as it reacts to the power of nature.
Skytower could be asking the viewer to consider the fragility of man-made structures, as civilisation endeavours to push the boundaries of physics and construction methods in architecture. The clear message is that nature will endure and control our destiny regardless of what technological advances human kind makes.
Images © Ashley Coombes