Wednesday, May 18, 2016

News: Man of Steel backed by Heritage Lottery Fund

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The ambitious Man of Steel project in Rotherham has secured a funding boost with initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The iconic piece of art is designed to be a landmark gateway sculpture close to the M1 that "will recognise the history of steel and coal in the region, and preside over a new age of technology and specialised steel production."

Recently resubmitted, plans were approved conditionally in 2012 for the 27.3m high art installation based on work by local sculptor Steve Mehdi, on a former land fill site at Kimberworth in Rotherham.

The sculpture alone will weigh over 100 tonnes, and be 50% bigger than the Angel of the North.

Until recently the landmark project been supported entirely by the private sector as it edges closer to its overall funding target of £4.2m.

A not-for-profit charitable company, Yorkshire Icon Limited, has been created which will work with the Rotherham Council, stakeholder partners, and other trustees to manage the project and deliver a lasting legacy that includes education and apprenticeships.

The project has now been backed by the HLF, the body which distributes a share of the income from the National Lottery to projects aimed at preserving and making accessible the nation's heritage. The round one funding of £106,000 will enable a team to work to secure the funds needed for a visitor centre on site.

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The project has faced many challenges over the last few years and undergone a transformation in the process. Originally conceived as a scaled up stainless cast version of Steve Mehdi's impressive sculpture, the Man of Steel has been radically redesigned, and will be fabricated from precision engineered stainless steel panels supplied from Outokumpu Stainless Distribution (UK), from Sheffield.

Barnsley structural specialists, Billington, will be working on the observation tower.

Global engineers Mott MacDonald have been working closely with the team and SH Structures - the multi-disciplinary fabricating firm which helped to make The Kelpies a reality - are also on board.

A group of local companies are pooling their knowledge and resources and using innovative design solutions. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD )software are just part of the revolutionary technologies that will assist design engineers working on the project.

Axis Architects have been retained to work on plans for a visitor centre which will sit alongside the sculpture. The Interpretation Hub is set to house an exhibition space, education facilities, a café and a shop.

In addition, a 20 metre observation tower, supporting the 20 metre stainless steel sculpture is set to include a viewing deck, which will provide "elevated panoramic views across the region and interpretive technology which will focus on the heritage of steel and coal, as well as promoting the new technology sector helping to transform the region's future."

Steve Mehdi said: "The original idea for The Yorkshire Man of Steel came from one person, but the support for this ambitious project now numbers many thousands of people, each with a story of their own to add to the ones already written. Localism is a key element in its delivery; invaluable local skills and local materials which will define the project and create a totemic icon recognising the heritage of the past and heralding a new future for the region, and future generations.

"The HLF grant will enable us to further our ambitions to create a building which is truly inclusive and inspirational, and which embraces the whole community.

"The Man of Steel is to have his own Heart of Steel, a 2.5 tonne sculpture, made from super alloys and containing up to 150,000 names of individuals from across the region. Partners have linked up with the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the nation's heart charity and the largest independent funder of cardiovascular research, to raise funds.

A full scale replica heart was gifted to the town and is on display in Rotherham town centre.

Yorkshire Man of Steel website

Images: Yorkshire Man of Steel / AXIS Architecture

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