Tonkin Liu to create new sculpture in Burnley

London-based architects Tonkin Liu have been commissioned to produce a landmark sculpture for the gateway to a new education and employment zone in Burnley.

The Rain Bow Gate sculpture is set to welcome visitors and investors to Burnley's new Knowledge Quarter site, providing a first impression to the Princess Way gateway into the town.

The sculpture is the latest in a series of public realm transformations that aim to characterise Burnley.

Tonkin Liu previously won several awards for creating the Singing Ringing Tree visitor attraction in the town.

The new sculpture will be located on an education and enterprise park being created opposite the University of Central Lancashire and College campus.

Anna Liu, from Tonkin Liu, said: "We are thrilled to be working in Burnley and collaborating with Mike Smith Studio again, with the same spirit of boldness, adventure, and pursuit of quality that drew us to the hilltop in Burnley seven years ago.

"We were inspired by how the viaduct frames the view of the surrounding landscape, which I think is one of the best things about Burnley. When we visited Burnley to develop this project, we met with students from the College and UCLan campus to hear their views on their town and what they thought would best reflect the spirit of Burnley.

"Rain Bow Gate, is a bow structure that integrates 500 prisms to capture light and create rainbows. A new breed of single-surface structure we've pioneered with structural engineers at Arup, the structure uses advanced digital modelling, analysis, and fabrication tools. The transformation of light into rainbow evokes a sense of wonder, which we feel is at heart of education.

"Rain – celebrates Burnley's nature and weather which was pivotal to Burnley's industrial past. Bow – reflects the arches of the viaduct, a dynamic and highly-efficient structural form. Gate – reflects the how the different parts of Burnley connect at this site.

"The innovative use of steel will reflect Burnley's advanced manufacturing status and future aspirations for the knowledge quarter as a centre for design and manufacturing excellence."

Burnley Council said a development partner to bring a 30,000 sq ft incubation centre for Burnley College and UCLan to Princess Way will begin over the next couple of months.

The enterprise and education centre will be the first of a set of new buildings on the five-acre Knowledge Quarter site, which could total 130,000 sq ft aimed at the private sector.

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