Collaborations between artists and architects are a regular occurrence in the AEC industry, successful examples including Olafur Eliasson’s partnership with Henning Larsen Architects for the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik and Ai Weiwei’s collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron for the 2012 Serpentine Pavilion in London. Next to step up to the plate is Damien Hirst who has revealed plans for 500 eco-homes in the picturesque North Devon (UK) parish of Ilfracombe with architects MRJ Rundell & Associates.
The sustainable scheme was announced by Mike Rundell of MRJ Rundell & Associates at a meeting last week for the expansion of Ilfracombe parish, adding a unique dynamic to the community’s existing plans. The Ilfracombe development scheme looks to add 1,000 new homes, education and leisure facilities, business units and a healthcare centre on 32 hectares of land, with Hirst’s residential project planned for a site already owned by the artist at Winsham Farm and two neighbouring farms. Plans for the 500 homes will be submitted in the next six months.
Rundell announced: “I’m a representative of Damien Hirst. He owns 40% of the land we are talking about. He has a horror of building anonymous, lifeless buildings. He wants these houses to be the kind of homes he would want to live in. We don’t want to make anything pastiche but we need to take into account the themes of existing local buildings. We hope to incorporate features such as pitched roofs, bay windows, smart gable ends, short terraces and robust materials used in a decorative manner. The development should provide a fusion between the town to the north and the countryside to the south.”
Sustainable features referenced by Rundell include wind turbines embedded in the roofs, photovoltaic panels and advanced insulation, all of which will be sensitively incorporated to reference the existing flavour of Ilfracombe’s residential architecture. Hirst has been recognised as the world’s richest living artist and is known worldwide for his flamboyant and highly controversial pieces, including a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde entitled ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ and a platinum cast of a human skull embedded with over 8,500 diamonds called ‘For the Love of God’.