Timberworks Public Art

A series of site-specific, artworks have been installed across the central park at Timberworks. The three artists commissioned to develop works for the site included Michael Pinsky, Alec Finlay and Emma Smith.


‘Hood’ by Michael Pinsky

Michael’s work incorporates the specific location within the site – attenuation area – established to mitigate the impact of future potential extreme weather conditions. Michael’s piece provides a focal point within the landscape and space for residents to use and enjoy, whilst drawing attention to climate change and the predicted environmental changes.

The piece subtly exaggerates the perception of the amount of rain or strength of the wind when seated within, from the supporting slats directing the wind to the roof structure designed to funnel rainwater through a central flue. The physical manipulation will be further enhanced through digital means. Speakers, linked to weather sensors located on the structure, play sounds enhance the current weather conditions by 10-15%, the predicted change to our environment. On warm days cicadas may be heard, whilst on stormy days the sound of wind will be more intense.

‘The Sun Spoke’ by Alec Finlay

Alec Finlay was commissioned to develop work for seven of the CIP sites, creating pieces that are specific to their location, whilst connecting the different sites to identify them as part of the wider investment programme across Cambridge, helping to establish cohesion and sense of place.

Alec is a poet and sculptor and has created a range of ‘living sculptures’, tailored to each location. Microtonal in their approach, they are dispersed across the park, providing moments of reflection – such as the bird boxes with single-word poems – through to works which provide a relationship with the other artists’ proposals for the site; the handmade sun trellis directing your view to another artwork.

Click on the link  to hear Alec talking about his artwork: Alec Finlay at Timberworks

‘N+1‘ by Emma Smith

For her artist-in-residency programme at Timberworks, Emma created the website ‘Phuplec’ for people to explore. Phuplec celebrates the small, the wild, the overripe, the rotten, the undesired and the redundant as necessary tactics for a sustainable future.

You can find out more about Phuplec and practice it yourself through activities provided on the website: www.phuplec.com

Emma has also created a permanent work for the site.  ‘N+1’ is a sculpture in the form of railings. The spacing of the railing bars has been determined by sound recordings made from plants’ subterranean communication translated into a musical score. The piece can be played by running a stick along railings, making audible the sounds of plant communication.


Photography by David X Green

Background Cromwell Road

In 2015 the former owners of the site, Ridgeons, began preparing an outline application for the redevelopment of the site, later obtaining outline planning approval for 245 new homes. The brief highlighted that “the new development was to create a well-designed housing development, incorporating new public open space, and new pedestrian and cycle routes and respond positively to the character of the surrounding area.

The scheme includes 295 new homes, 40% of which are Council rented housing. Also delivered is a generous open public space and nursery, which is situated on the ground floor of the northernmost apartment block.