Wall of Prayer design revealed
The winning design has been announced for The Wall of Answered Prayer, after a three year process run by the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), choosing from 130 submitted designs from 28 countries.
And the innovative 50m design will be sited on a 10-acre site on the edge of Birmingham, where it will be seen by more than half a million people every day. Hopes are it will attract 150-200,000 visitors every year and generate more than £500m in the first 10 years for the local economy.
The Wall of Answered Prayer is a piece of public art with one million bricks, each representing an answered prayer. The project aims to preserve and celebrate the UK’s Christian heritage and inspire the nation to pray. The architectural sculpture will use state of the art technology so that visitors can use their phones to read the answered prayers which each brick relates to.
Just five designs made it to the shortlist of the global architectural design competition, and the winning submission by Hampshire-based Snug Architects was commended for its unique interpretation of the brief and appropriately challenging design, featuring dynamic geometry and a stunning representation of a Mobius strip – (a non-orientable surface which seemingly has no beginning and no end).
Its innovative approach of incorporating the visitor centre within this piece of architectural public art set it apart, creating a striking image as it towers 50m high into the skyline.
Speaking about the practice’s selection, Paul Bulkeley, Design Director at Snug Architects said: “It is an honour to have been chosen to design and deliver this project of national significance. We are excited by the vision behind this ground-breaking project and are looking forward to working with the team to see it become a reality. At Snug Architects we believe this will be a structure that both inspires and engages visitors for many years to come.”
There will also be historical answered prayers that preserve the nation’s rich Christian heritage, recording answers uncovered by historians from 600 AD to 1950.
CEO of The Wall of Answered Prayer Richard Gamble, said of the project; “This 15-year-old vision is now becoming reality. I’m chuffed to bits with the design which handled perfectly the challenge of creating intrigue when being seen from afar, yet provides a truly interactive journey for those who visit. We want to create an iconic structure the nation will not only be proud of but find inspirational – it will be a landmark of hope.”
The 50-metre high arching structure which dominates Snug’s design will be situated on a strategic 10-acre site between the M6, M42 and HS2 at Coleshill Manor on the edge of Birmingham, and is expected to be seen by more than 500,000 people every day. The land has been donated by the Edmiston family and that in itself is an answered prayer.
“The way we have managed to acquire the land is nothing short of miraculous, and it has been an incredible journey of prayer,” said Richard Gamble. “We are extremely grateful to the Edmistons for their generosity and thank God for His masterplan to put us there.”
Based on the experience of the Angel of the North, The Wall team expect to attract between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors per annum and generate over £500 million in the first 10 years for the local economy.
Steve Maxey, Acting Chief Exec, North Warwickshire County Council said “We are greatly excited by this project – I strongly believe it will come to be as loved by people locally and nationally as the Angel of the North, and brilliantly compliments our work on improving mental health and wellbeing.”
The Wall of Answered Prayer has seen strong support across the broad spectrum of the church:
Archbishop Bernard Longley, said of the project: “The Wall of Answered Prayer promises to be an exciting project. I hope that all those who visit it will find some space and inspiration to consider the value of prayer in their lives. The local Catholic community looks forward to playing its part in supporting this work so that together we can leave a legacy of faith for generations to come.”
Paul Manwaring, Senior Leader, Bethel & Europe Shall be Saved, said: "Good news is about to become contagious. God is alive and He is good. This project to build a wall declaring the testimonies of Jesus, not in bible times or other countries but here in the UK is one of the most exciting, brave and adventurous building projects of our times. ‘If walls could talk’? Well this one will, and it will tell of the wonders of our God!”
The Wall team intend to complete the build in time to launch with the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, subject to planning.