We move to the final panel of the Santiago triptych,
upon which I found myself drawn to
The Two Towers
on a distant hillside.
Moving through the city…
beyond the dual carriageway,
into the peri-urban,
stone marking transitions.
Trafficless I ascended.
An uncertain entrance.
Light dancing on the polished steel of hope.
amongst steel beams and rods,
watery inner belly exposed,
encasement in concrete
Old Distant Towers.
Signal to the New.
Glass and granite clad
across the hillside.
The Two Towers drew me towards them.
Before I realised,
I had crossed the
Broken shadows danced across the raw concrete.
Descending to another level,
traces of others
Hidden from site,
I found The Three Towers…
to the city
And thus my pilgrimage ended.
The Two Towers are part of The City of Culture of Galicia (Cidade Da Cultura de Galicia) which when I visited was a building site partially open to the public. It became apparent, however, as I was ushered out by a workman, that the degree to which The Two Towers were open to the public was ambiguous !
The Two Towers are conceived as a memorial to architect John Hejduk (who designed them in 1992 for another project) but also function as a means of ventilating underground galleries and will act as a information centre. The void between the towers is an exact inverted profile of one of them: so in a sense there are actually Three Towers.
The City of Culture Galicia was designed by architect Peter Eisenman in response to a design competition in 1999. Based on overlaying a morphed ground plan of Medieval City and five main pilgrimage routes across the hillside of Mount Gaiás. The City of Culture was conceived as comprising buildings for several major Galician cultural institutions. It is a remarkable project in many respects, a modern assertion of confidence in Galician cultural identity which converses with the historic environment of Saniago de Compostela.
However, construction commenced in 2001, with a budget of 109 million Euros. The project required another intervention in 2005 ’12 Actions to Make the Cidade da Cultura Transparent’ by architect Andrés Jaque to raise its awareness in the public consciousness. By 2011 400 million Euros had been spent on construction and in March 2013 work was stopped. It is unclear as to whether all elements will actually be completed, and how well it will articulate with the Old City.
The standing stone encountered at the end of my journey was erected in 2006 to commemorate the opening of a new suburb, others can be found around the margins of the city.
Walking through a familiar place in Edinburgh, and crossing a busy noisy junction with cars and buses hurtling past, I spotted signs on a building which I had never noticed before…!
One of the signs on the right side of the building says Guse Dub. It refers to when there was a Goose Pond at this location in 1715, which was mentioned by Sir Walter Scott in an account of his child hood memories.
I paused and realised there was another sign, Transforming a Place, on the left side of the building. It relates to a project from 2007-2009, as part of the Six Cities Design Festival. One element of the design festival was a place making process for this location, with a series of design workshops which explored the history of the site and its potential future uses and appearance. The sign has been set up by The Causey Development Trust who are trying to reclaim from the traffic this small urban historic space in Edinburgh for the people: Transforming a Place.
It will be interesting to see if the work of The Causey Development Trust transforms this place for people as opposed to cars….!