Head out of St Pancras station by the Thameslink exit, and facing you will be a monumental tower of weathered steel — this is Paradigm by Conrad Shawcross.

Commissioned to stand outside the front entrance of the building opposite the newly built medical research centre, the Francis Crick Institute, it was installed earlier this year. The brown weathered steel rises up from a one metre base, and each tetrahedron layer slowly twists and widens until the top is a surprising 5-metres wide — although the sheer width is not apparent when looking up.

For some reason, height often masks how big things are, as anyone who has lowered a “modest” light from a high ceiling only to find barely enough space on the ground will confirm.

Constructed in a warehouse in Dagenham then craned into place, the steel tower is some 14 metres in height and the weathered steel gives it an ancient look in this newest of locations.

And while a full metre at the base, from a distance, it seems to perch almost dainty on the ground as impossibly balanced on a toe. That’s a bit of an illusion, born of necessary engineering. There’s 30 metre deep piles driven into the ground to support the 26-tonne sculpture.

The choice of pre-weathered steel is both aesthetic but also a nod to the railway heritage of the area – not just the railway station beside it, but that the Francis Crick Institute sits on former railway land as well.

The sculpture can be viewed from Midland Road, at the east end of the new Crick building, adjacent to St Pancras International Station.


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One comment
  1. Gerry says:

    Call me a philistine, but it’s just a rusty old carbuncle and a dreadful waste of money as well.

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