THE GRETNA LANDMARK PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
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 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 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 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 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 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 collaberation with Charles Jencks and the Gretna Landmark Trust to come up with design concepts for a new landmark at Gretna.
In July 2011 Cecil Balmonds proposal, Star of Caledonia was selected as a winner and was 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.
"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."