Charles Church Developments, WYG Planning & Design and Safle are pleased to announce the completion of ‘Animal Wall’, a site-specific ecological artwork by artist Gitta Gschwendtner. ‘Animal Wall’ is part of a 50 metre long wall, running along the south-western edge of ‘Strata’, a new residential development in Century Wharf, Cardiff Bay. It can be accessed via the riverside walk leading from Clarence Road towards the city centre.
The environmental impact of Cardiff Bay’s extensive development is an ongoing concern and various measures have been put in place to mitigate this. The approach taken for this artwork is to assist wildlife in the area and encourage further habitation. The new housing development of Century Wharf which provides approximately 1,000 new apartments and houses; Gschwendtner’s design for the ’Animal Wall’ will match this with about 1,000 nest boxes for different bird and bat species, integrated into the fabric of the wall that separates the development from the adjacent public riverside walk. Through consultation with an ecologist, four different sized animal homes have been developed, which have been integrated into a custom-made woodcrete cladding to provide an architecturally stunning and environmentally sensitive wall for Century Wharf. The animal wall also transcends the barrier between the private and the public, with the wildlife roaming freely between the two areas.
Artist Gitta Gschwendtner said: “Following the decline of the natural habitat in Cardiff Bay over recent years, I was very interested in exploring ways to introduce nesting places in my artwork for Century Wharf. I have loved the opportunity to match the number of flats created in the housing development with the number of bird and bat boxes in my design for the Animal Wall.”
Century Wharf’s architect, Jonathan Vining of WYG Planning & Design, said: “It has been a real pleasure collaborating with Gitta on this project and her site-specific design not only helps to enhance Century Wharf’s already strong sense of place, but also provides a modern echo of William Burges’s animal wall at Bute Park just up the river.”
Wiard Sterk, Safle’s Executive Director said: “Over our many years of involvement in the development of Cardiff Bay, we have found various ways of integrating art, contributing aesthetically as well as practically. In this project Gschwendtner has found yet a further innovative expression of artistic engagement in the public realm and this commission by Charles Church Developments is a significant contribution to the overall collection of works in Cardiff”.
We should like to extend out deepest gratitude for the outstanding work undertaken by Joyner Group and Consolidated Specialist PreCast Products in realising the ‘Animal Wall’ and to David Clements Ecology for their invaluable advice and guidance.
Artist Gitta Gschwendtner Born in Germany in 1972, Gitta Gschwendtner moved to London in the early 1990s to study design at Central Saint Martins, Kingston University, and the Royal College of Art. Following graduation from the RCA furniture MA in 1998, she set up her independent design studio for furniture, interior design, exhibition design and public art projects for cultural, arts and corporate clients. Gitta Gschwendtner’s studio focuses on conceptually rigorous, visually intriguing, functional designs across several disciplines.
Client Charles Church Charles Church Developments is a wholly owned subsidiary of Persimmon Homes and plc and consists of ten regional offices covering England, Scotland and Wales. Charles Church is the premium brand for Persimmon and provides a range of exclusive homes in both traditional and contemporary styles. Strata, the sixth and final phase of the exceptional Century Wharf development in Cardiff Bay, was completed in early 2009.
WYG Planning & Design Cardiff-based WYG Planning & Design, the architect for the Century Wharf development, specialises in contemporary housing design. It has completed an extensive portfolio of high-quality projects for both public and private sector clients, including: multi-storey apartment blocks, retirement villages, residential care homes, affordable housing, extra-care schemes, almshouses, estate housing and houses for individual clients, many within historic or sensitive settings.
Commissioning Agency – Safle Safle’s mission is to promote, advocate, develop and implement art in the urban and rural public realm, throughout Wales and internationally. Through its many programmes and methods of working, it strives to enliven and regenerate public spaces, support and initiate sustainability and educate and inspire local communities. Safle works in collaboration with artists, architects, residents, communities, public authorities and the private sector responding to the increasing demand for better public spaces.