And finally… Crowdfunding plan to build cardboard version of Dundee’s Royal Arch
More than 50 years after it was unceremoniously dynamited to make way for the Tay Bridge, the tower will be rebuilt in less than 24 hours by a team of volunteers, created out of specially designed cardboard blocks as part of a striking cultural and architectural public art project.
It will rise from the Slessor Gardens on Saturday May 28, after days of block building, and will be brightly lit and adorned with projections created by local schoolchildren.
Visitors will be invited to wander around and through the structure and there are plans to stage heritage walks and talks and screen old films showing Dundee in the past.
The once proud Victorian landmark’s rebirth will be brief however as the very next day it will be torn down and trampled in an echo of the destruction of the original arch in 1964.
That fun-filled “Topple Event” is seen as one of the highlights of the project, which forms part of the Festival of Architecture 2016.
The Royal Arch will add to the list of “People’s Towers” that have been created all over the world – but will be one of the biggest ever created in the UK.
They are the brainchild of French artist Oliver Grosette, who will visit Dundee to research the arch, look at the construction site and design a recreation of the structure.
Key to the project, however, will be securing money, with organisers looking to Creative Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund for support as well as launching a Crowdfunding page.
A number of local businesses have already expressed an interest in supporting the project, including Apex Hotels, Gowrie Contracts and BAM Construction, while Xplore Dundee will be offering promotional bus tickets over the event weekend.
Managing the project will be Dundee-based events producer Claire Dow, who said: “The People’s Tower: Dundee’s Royal Arch will be huge and it can only be built with the help of the public.
“We need lots of passing people to join in, lifting the sections into place and taping it all together.
“Day one should see the arch built by lunchtime and people are then welcome then to visit and walk around it and then on the Sunday it gets lowered and trampled by whomever wants to do the trampling!
“It’s a really exciting way to reinvestigate our built environment and think about the buildings that aren’t there anymore.”
The Royal Arch was built to commemorate the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to the city in 1844, but the city’s people always had a love-hate relationship with the arch.
It was eventually dynamited, with many of the stones simply dumped into the harbour, its loss bemoaned by some but celebrated by others.
The arch had been built by public subscription and the People’s Tower project has targeted the same sum raised in the 1850s – £2,270 – to support its recreation in cardboard.
The fundraising campaign will close on March 16 – the same date the original arch was demolished.
Visit Indiegogo.com to donate.
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