Keith Wilson

Park Hill Plinths


Output: Artefact

Following his co-curation of the Modern British Sculpture Exhibition at the Royal Academy, Wilson was approached by Urban Splash to discuss the role of sculpture in their re-development of the Park Hill estate in Sheffield. This led Wilson to raise the question ‘can sculpture on a landscape scale radically change the meaning of an inner-city environment? What effect does adding both the idea and the actuality of a Sculpture Park have on a public site already carrying multiple meanings?’

Rather than siting permanent sculptures into the landscape Wilson proposed the entire landscape be redrawn to balance out the needs of community, cultural visitor and artist. Working closely with landscape architect Tim Osborne Studio, developers Urban Splash, and S1 Artspace, plans for the vast interior space were reconfigured in order to realise an inner-city drive-through sculpture park to fly under the banner Sculpture Park Hill.

The outcome of the research which most publicly carries Wilson’s name, Park Hill Plinths (2015-), consists of five circular disc-shaped concrete plinth bases positioned to both establish and to amplify the site’s underlying topography. The 3.18 metre diameter of each plinth directly refers to the basic unitary grid plan of the surrounding Park Hill flats. Materialising an unscripted future, these five plinths comprise a superimposed ‘footprint’ over the landscape, and could be viewed as a territorial gesture (a sculptural land-grab) or as a generous one (offering themselves and the wider site up for use). Their construction with rebar and concrete means they can serve as a functional base to a wide range of future installed materials. It is this functionality alongside a material sensitivity to the brutalist aesthetic of the wider site that determines their appearance, and allows the works to hide in plain sight.

Research Output

This collection of images displays the outputs from this project. Find out more details in the full case study below.

Research Method

The project involved Wilson in what became a complete revision of the original landscaping plans. Once the logic of making a shared garden also function as a cultural destination was applied across the scheme, it was apparent that the site would need substantial redesign modifications undertaken collaboratively with the project’s landscape architect, Tim Osborne Studio.

Key Methodologies:

Full Project Output

REF '21

To learn more about the output, methods and dissemination of this work, explore the full project submission.

Other Projects By

Keith Wilson