George King Architects has won an international competition to design a £395,000 landmark commemorating Welsh legends at Flint Castle. Flint Castle was the first of a series of castles that formed a chain of fortresses known as Edward I’s “Iron Ring.” As part of the King’s campaign to conquer Wales, the castle was built in local Millstone Grit ashlar and sandstone by 1,800 laborers and masons. The site has stood for over 700 years and today is managed as a public monument.
In an effort to rejuvenate the town of Flint and draw in tourists, the city has been working towards a multi-million pound regeneration plan that includes transforming the castle into a key site for tourism.
To celebrate the Wales’ majestic history and nature, George King Architects designed the Iron Ring, an enormous rusted steel crown that will be embedded into the earth beside Flint Castle. The massive sculpture won Wales’ Year of Legends contest and symbolizes the relationship between the medieval monarchies of Europe and the castles they built.
“The sculpture will take a precariously balanced form, half buried beneath the ground, half projecting into the air, to demonstrate the unstable nature of the crown,” said George King. “The sculpture has been carefully designed to work at many scales. From afar its striking, iconic form resembles a giant ancient artefact, washed up on the shore of the Dee Estuary. Its scale and dynamic appearance means that it will become an instantly recognisable landmark for the area.”
A passageway is carved out of the giant ring, allowing visitors to travel over its circumference. The installation will be engraved with carefully chosen associated words and sayings to be developed with the local community. The “Iron Ring” will be 7 meters high and 30 meters wide.
The Iron Ring is slated to open in 2018. The sculpture will help bring increased awareness to Flint Castle, which was recently renovated to include the installation of a £217k stainless-steel spiral staircase.