Since time immemorial, mankind has viewed the atmosphere and celestial bodies as a conduit to God.
What we interpret as God creating miracles of Answered Prayers, as the material manifestation of something contrary to the forces of Nature. We see parallels in the erection of walls, actively opposing the forces of gravity, creating sanctuaries, monuments and habitats.
We envision The Wall as such as gesture of a monolithic monument, a metaphor of God reaching out to the multitude and answering Prayers, and as a conduit between mankind communicating with God.
We chose the motif of the Aurora as a wall of shimmering light in the atmosphere, weaving between the realm of mankind and God.
The monument is meant to be experienced in two scales - The monolithic waving form of light and shadow against the pastoral Leicestershire backdrop from afar, and tranquil reflection upon the 1 Million individual building blocks enclosing smaller enclaves from up close.
As a point of departure, a mountain shape with a peak symbolising God reaching out to a wide base of multitudes, specifically 1 Million peoples, forming a triangular elevation. This triangular elevation is abstracted into a rolled wall from 2metres to 30metres that weaves in and out of the natural landscape of the site, creating an ambiguous interface between interior and exterior, the grounded earth and the open sky.
Structurally the wall itself tapers from a wide base to a narrower top. At taller parts, embedded reinforced concrete piers provide strength to the wall. Additionally, the fluted form of the wall provides structural strength to lateral wind and structural loads better than vertical walls, and effectively eliminating the need for exterior buttressing.
We applied a nominal rule of unsupported brickwork wall construction - 20 times Thickness at less than or equal to its Height (American ANSI A41.1, ACI 531). With a maximum height of 30m and 1.5m wide base, we believe our structure is adequate to be self-supporting with minimal reinforced concrete strengthening.
The UK Brick Development Association states that brick structures can last indefinitely with little to no maintenance, with repointing perhaps necessary after 70 years. Our concerns for the life-cycle management is also concerned at the mortar pointing, as imbalanced exposure from the sunlit south and cold north causes weathering of the pointing. To alleviate that, our curving long form oriented at all directions will distribute the weathering stresses.
The construction is not unlike conventional masonry upon a concrete ground foundation. The wall outlines are laid course
by course, and layers are consecutively added at point where the height to thickness ratio is exceeded. At the higher levels, ties and reinforced concrete core are embedded in the
core of a principally masonry structure.
Given a total brick face area upwards of 12670 square metres of double bricks at £170 / square metres, the brick work costs 2.15 million pounds, which is at half the budget. Even factoring in the curvatures and height involved, a coefficient of 2.0 times this figure will set the project nicely within the budget limits.
Program: Sculptural Space
Size: 1m Bricks
Client: The wall