Over 130 architecture practices from 28 countries submitted their concepts for The Wall of Answered Prayer to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), with just five making it onto the shortlist for the second round of judging. Marc Chapman, director at Gleeds, was asked to lead a technical team to assess the viability, cost and practicality of build for each of the finalists and, after lengthy consultation, a design by Hampshire-based Snug Architects was selected and secured the contract.
Described as a visionary, thought provoking initiative from a group of Christians across the UK, The Wall of Answered Prayer is to be a lasting monument and piece of public art incorporating part of the client’s requirement for a million bricks – each representing an individual story of hope and faith – to feature in the design. The 50-metre high, arching structure which dominates Snug’s design will be situated on a strategic 10-acre site between the M6, M42 and HS2, and is expected to be seen by more than 300,000 people every day.
Image Credits: Snug Architects
Following Marc Chapman’s technical guidance during the judging process, Gleeds has been appointed to manage the ambitious scheme moving forward. Commenting on his involvement, he said: “I’m extremely proud to have been asked to join the panel entrusted with assessing the entries for this one-of-a-kind project. Each of the finalist’s designs were of an exceptionally high standard so selecting a winner was no mean feat. Gleeds will now be leading the project team taking The Wall through to completion and bringing Snug’s inspired concept to life. I am looking forward to starting work on this national monument”.
Richard Gamble, Chief Executive with The Wall of Answered Prayer went on to add: “The Wall has been a dream for 15 years but moved into the realms of reality following a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. In an effort to give back to the communities who have supported us in getting to this point, we will also be donating one million bricks to social housing projects across the UK. I have been blown away by the incredible imagination demonstrated in each of the designs put forward but Snug’s entry was truly awe inspiring and, under Gleeds’ stewardship, I am confident that the finished article will be equally impressive”.
The winning submission was commended for its unique interpretation of the brief and appropriately challenging design, featuring complex angles and a stunning representation of a möbius strip – a non-orientable surface which seemingly has no beginning and no end. The mature and experienced team behind the design had confidence during the judging period and this contributed to its ultimate selection.
Speaking about the practice’s selection, Paul Bulkeley, Design Director at Snug Architects said: “It is an honour to have been chosen to design and deliver this project of national significance. We are excited by the vision behind this ground-breaking design and are looking forward to working with the team. At Snug Architects we believe this will be a structure that both inspires and engages visitors for many years to come.”
It is hoped that The Wall will be completed in time to launch with the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.