THE GRETNA LANDMARK PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
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 regeneration and signify the main road gateway to Scotland.
The Gretna Landmark steering group, now 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 icons and placemaking.
Over the last 5 years the Gretna Landmark project, now Star of Caledonia, has involved Scottish academics, cultural thinkers and the local community in a series of seminars and workshops led by Creative Director Charles Jencks.
From this involvement emerged themes of the inventive energy of the Scottish people, the natural energy of Scotland’s dynamic landscape, innovation and ‘the river of identity running deep’.
In 2011 a 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 and artists worked in collaboration which Charles Jencks to develop proposals for the Gretna Landmark. In July 2011 Cecil Balmonds proposal, Star of Caledonia was selected as winner.
In January 2013 Star of Caledonia successfully achieved planning permission with no objections to the Star of Caledonia landmark.
The announcement of Balmond/Jenck’s “Star of Caledonia” as the competition winner, attracted world wide media interest therefore raising the profile of Gretna internationally.