Burnley’s new sculpture will light up town

The Rain Bow Gate sculpture at the gateway to Burnley's Knowledge Quarter. (s)
The Rain Bow Gate sculpture at the gateway to Burnley's Knowledge Quarter. (s)

JOBS, education and new investment are promised at the end of Burnley’s very own rainbow.

The landmark Rain Bow Gate sculpture, designed by the multi-award winning Singing Ringing Tree architects, will light up the town as a centrepiece to its education and employment zone – now officially named Burnley’s Knowledge Quarter.

An image of the Rain Bow Gate

An image of the Rain Bow Gate

Rain Bow Gate, which will be completed and in situ by June this year, forms part of the wider Public Realm transformation project already underway on Princess Way, and will be located on the new public space being created opposite the UCLan and Burnley College campus.

Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu, who designed the unique and contemporary sculpture, said: “We are thrilled to be working in Burnley and collaborating with Mike Smith Studio again, with the same spirit of boldness, adventure and pursuit of quality that drew us to the hilltop in Burnley seven years ago.”

The design came to fruition following meetings with students from the Burnley College and UCLan campus and Anna feels it truly reflects the spirit of Burnley.

“It is a bow structure that integrates 500 prisms to capture light and create rainbows. A new breed of single-surface structure we’ve pioneered with structural engineers at Arup, the structure uses advanced digital modelling, analysis, and fabrication tools. The transformation of light into rainbow evokes a sense of wonder, which we feel is at the heart of education.”

Another view of Rain Bow Gate

Another view of Rain Bow Gate

The Princess Way Public Realm project is funded by the North- West European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is matched by monies from Burnley Council, Sustrans and Burnley College.

Burnley council leader Charlie Briggs believes the sculpture shows Burnley’s ambition for the future and will prove an integral part in regenerating the area.

“The sculpture is a small but inspiring aspect of the overall Princess Way Public Realm project, which will create a contemporary gateway to the town and the Knowledge Quarter; with high quality paving, lighting and landscaping to improve pedestrian access between the town centre, the new Curzon square shopping development and the Knowledge Quarter.

“The aim of the overall scheme is to attract new investment and jobs to the Knowledge Quarter which will incorporate the proposed five-acre employment site ‘The Knowledge Park’ as well as the Burnley College and UCLan campus.

“We wanted a bold, contemporary piece which would create a distinctive first impression to the developing gateway, reflecting education, enterprise and Burnley’s ambition for the future.

“High quality public realm works are proven to have a wider economic value, including raised demand for land and buildings in the area, increased property values and the attraction of more investment and visitors. I am confident the Princess Way Public Realm transformations and Rain Bow Gate will do just that.”