Friday. A long day of CAD drafting ahead of me. My spirits are lifted briefly by the latest article by Hugh Pearman about James Turrell’s installation, Skyspace. I get to the links at the bottom and realise that it’s at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Hooray for the interweb! I know someone nearby…

From: Rob
To: Neil
Date: 28-Apr-2006 09:54
Subject: in the name of art

Dear Neil,

Need a big favour. Please could you fix it for me to see some photos of this:

I know you’ve got the skills to nail it.

All the best,


A couple of e-mail exchanges later…

From: Neil
To: Rob
Date: 30-Apr-2006 14:44
Subject: Re: in the name of art


Mission accomplished! Here’s all the pics I took today, smallenised down for easy emailage: let me know if you want particular ones biggerified.

I picked a busy time, Sunday afternoon, so that The Art Guards would have more people to bother with, and I was all hoodied-up for some sneaky phonecam action. Rather disappointed, then, that there isn’t a member of staff /in there/, just one on the door. And I knew him. People were taking photos in there with normal cameras quite openly – in flagrant disregard of the rules – so I joined in.

Don’t get me started on the two incredibly loud women…


Then there was a lull in the traffic and it was just me in there for a while, so I got some architecturally bits and pieces that I thought you might be interested in: since the roof is open to the sky it seems to be designed a little bit like a wetroom, with channels in the concrete sides and a sort of drainage ditch running around the
edge of the floor.

escape bench drainage corner shaft

It’s very calm in there, provided there aren’t any talking people (quite an echo). It’s a perfect square in plan, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if the height of the room was the same, too. The sky-window seems to have almost no lip to it – it’s a frame, not a shaft. Quite cloudy but bright today, so the sky was a big glow of white rather than blue. The walls and the ceiling around the frame are white, the sides/benches are that sort of smooth concrete stuff they seem to like using in modern builds these days and the floor is a rougher concrete-eqsue stuff. The sides and particularly the door frame with its slab of lintel lend the place a tomblike feel. The sides are sloped back at just the right angle to gaze upwards.

Apparently they’re going to open it at night sometime, which will be /so/ cool.

I’ll probably sneak back in during the week when there are less tourists about, and get some realcam pictures.



Like I said, hooray for the interweb. And hooray for folks like Neil. I was a little skeptical when I first started reading the Hugh Pearman piece, much less so by the time I finished it. Now I’m entirely sold on the idea. It looks like an absolute delight for eyes and fingers. Anyone for a trip to the YSP?