Star of Caledonia, which was originally known as the Gretna Landmark Project, lives in the heart of the community and originally grew out of the communities desire to help with regeneration after it was hit very badly by the 2001 foot and mouth crisis. Over the years the project has grown and evolved to become a regeneration project of national and international importance that will generate profile and recognition for the south of Scotland and Borderlands that is unmatched in recent memory.

The Gretna and Gretna Green Community, local Landowner Alasdair Houston and public art manager Jan Hogarth were keen to develop a spectacular landmark for Scotland at Gretna to act as a flagship for the Borderlands regeneration and signify the main road gateway to Scotland. The Gretna Landmark Trust, invited world renowned land artist and architectural theorist, Charles Jencks to be their Creative Director of the project. Charles lives in Dumfries and Galloway and has a strong interest in interdisciplinary design and placemaking. Over the last 8 years the Gretna Landmark project, now Star of Caledonia, has involved the local community, Scottish academics, local school children and cultural thinkers in a series of seminars and workshops led by Creative Director Charles Jencks.

From this involvement emerged themes including the inventive energy of the people, the natural energy of Scotland’s dynamic landscape, innovation and ‘the river of identity running deep’. In 2011 an International competition for a significant landmark project was announced by the Gretna Landmark Trust entitled “The Great Unknown”, left intentionally vague to encourage innovative and limitless thinking amongst the design contenders. Three shortlisted designers included, Environmental artist Ned Kahn, Wilkinson Eyre architects and Cecil Balmond worked in collaboration with Charles Jencks and the Gretna Landmark Trust to come up with design concepts for a new landmark at Gretna.

In July 2011 Cecil Balmond’s proposal, Star of Caledonia was selected by a panel as a winner and was also a firm favourite by the local school children.

In January 2013 Star of Caledonia successfully achieved planning permission demonstrating the strong community support with no objections to the Star of Caledonia landmark. More recently we have been discussing with the Borderlands Regeneration Initiative the possibility of the Star being a flagship project to champion innovation, science, and other cultural destinations in the Borderlands area. The idea is the Star would be a connector sending visitors out into the north of England and south of Scotland to visit other important destinations for culture, science and landscape.


""The Star of Caledonia is an ambitious and brave project that lives in the heart of the community and the landscape of the Scottish border at Gretna. The aesthetic of the work promotes scientific innovation and the energy of the landscape and natural forces. The project team are speaking to the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation and the Glasgow Science Centre to develop a national education project about creativity and the links between the arts and sciences."