Culture Centre Castleford Reveals Town's 'Underground Aura'

By Culture24 Staff | 12 January 2009
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A picture of a design drawing of a modern library with chairs and bookshelves

A library is among the latest round of plans for the Yorkshire design hotspot of Castleford. Pic: Carlos Garaicoa

A culture centre for the West Yorkshire town which starred in a television regeneration project will move a step closer with an exhibition of designs commencing January 16 2009.

Cuban artist Carlos Garacoia’s trio of models for a new building in Castleford, incorporating the town’s Roman ruins, an observatory and a top floor boasting spectacular views, will go on display to the public for the first time at the town’s Sagar Street Gallery.

The unveiling marks the latest architectural prospect for the town, which has gained landmarks including a town square, footbridge and numerous other facilities during the past five years thanks to Channel 4’s Kevin McCloud and the Big Town Plan series.

A picture of a design of a tower structure in bright light

Influential Cuban architect Garaicoa sees the town as "a jewel". Pic: Carlos Garaicoa

McCloud and his team were mocked in some quarters when they began their reality television-style foray in 2003, having selected the town for widespread planning initiatives after being impressed by its community spirit.

The quality and value of their designs inevitably remains a matter of debate, but their scope – from underpasses to village greens – represented a surprising degree of success.

“We are excited to be supporting international artists like Carlos Garaicoa, as well as local artists, in bringing great art to everyone in Castleford,” said Andy Carver, Executive Director of Arts Council England, Yorkshire, who have played a major role in the scheme to revitalise the area. “The arts and artists help communities aspire to the best quality of life possible.”

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Castleford Heritage Trust and York St John University have also been involved with the Arts Council-funded exhibition, described as “an important commission” and “a poetic and beautiful response to the artist’s time in the town and with its residents.”

Garaicoa claims he is inspired by a vision of Castleford as “the motherland, as a jewel, as a place with an underground aura.”

“If we could watch Castleford in the dark at night, this aura would shine,” he says, recalling the memory of leading British sculptural innovator Henry Moore, who was born in the town.

“All the wealth of Castleford is somehow associated to its mineral resources, to the land. When I speak of wealth I mean its history as a Roman settlement, minerals that made possible the mining and industries, and its particularity as hometown of the most well-known English sculptor.”

Plans will be on display at Sagar Street Gallery, 2 Sagar Street, Castleford, from January 16 - March 27 2009.

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