Star of Caledonia
“The Star of Caledonia” is an evolving design for a new iconic landmark for Gretna the main road gateway to Scotland. Currently the event of crossing the border into Scotland by road at the main gateway at Gretna is unremarkable and travellers are often unaware that they have passed from one country into another.
The project has been developed by the public art team working closely with the community and the Gretna Landmark Trust. Creative director, Charles Jencks working in collaboration with artist/designer, Cecil Balmond, is leading the design for a new landmark for Scotland.
Seeing the opportunity for a better experience the local community approached the public art team who have been developing this project over a number of years opened up discussion with internationally renowned architectural critic, land artist, and designer Charles Jencks on how to develop an iconic and visually spectacular landmark for Scotland at its main border crossing and southern gateway at Gretna in Dumfries and Galloway. Charles, author of ‘Iconic Buildings’, accepted the invitation to be the project’s Creative Director, and the ultimate challenge of developing an iconic landmark for Scotland, which will be a meaningful, visually dynamic and theatrical experience as people enter Scotland at Gretna.
The wider creative direction and themes for the Gretna Landmark evolved out of a series of seminars and workshops involving leading Scottish cultural thinkers led by Charles Jencks. ‘Energy’ and ‘innovation’ came out very strongly as themes within the brief, especially the role that energy and its conservation might play in the future, the inventive energy of the Scottish people and also the natural energy of Scotland’s dynamic landscape. The creative team aim to develop a new icon for Scotland that takes its inspiration from Scotland’s legacy of scientific innovation. Balmond was inspired by the world renowned scientist, James Clerk Maxwell, who came from Dumfries and Galloway. The design is a collaboration between Charles and Cecil and will involve the creation of an integrated structure and landform. The project is being developed by Wide Open for the Gretna Landmark Trust.
“From the first time that I and a few others began discussions about this project some 9 years ago, I have been determined that we deliver something special for the region and Scotland. This will be a major statement of Scotland’s ambition and identity. What a way to say ‘You’re here!’ at the entry point to the country! I hope that it will be a source of pride locally, regionally and nationally. It also links so well with the creative and environmental tourism movement for which our region is becoming well known, and as such will act as a high profile signpost to the destination of Dumfries and Galloway.” Alasdair Houston, Chair of the Gretna Trust.