Banbury Howard

The design of things to come – forming the foundations for Yoni Alter’s Ipswich

London based artist and designer Yoni Alter has become famous for his innovative city landscape designs and is working his way around the globe creating contemporary images of the skylines of some of the world’s best known places.

With many iconic buildings and a lot of rich heritage, Ipswich, no doubt, will be on his list to get the ‘Shapes of Cities’ treatment. In the meantime, we thought we’d give him a helping hand, creating an image that could form the foundations for an addition to his famous collection.

Included in the picture are the Orwell Bridge, St Lawrence Church, the Willis building, the ‘wine rack’, BT’s Pegasus Tower, the UCS waterfront building, Portman Road football stadium, the Town Hall and the Sir Bobby Robson statue.


The design is in the detail

What seems like a simple piece of art can take time and patience, and working on the project, we encountered many of the problems that Yoni Alter deals with when creating his designs.

Finding the information to scale the buildings correctly was probably the most challenging aspect of the project. Ipswich Town’s Portman Road stadium was a relatively easy one as, we imagine, the football club needs to know the heights of the ground, the flood lights and the like for health and safety reasons and, having worked closely with the staff there, they were more than happy to help us.

It was more difficult to find the information for others though and for some, we needed to contact the architect directly.


Did you know?

Gathering the information has also been interesting though, and the project has revealed some interesting facts about buildings in the town that many may not know.

For instance, the St. Lawrence Church in the town centre has the oldest set of ringing church bells in the world.

The upper section of the tower in Dial Lane was built in 1882 and in 2008 the church reopened as a community restaurant and gallery.

The five bells in the tower are hung in a modern steel frame and are known as Wolsey’s bells; named after Cardinal Wolsey who was raised in the area. Four of the bells date back to around 1450 and the fifth one to around 1480.

Interestingly, the bells remain undamaged and unmodified and still include their original clappers, although in 1985 the bells were removed when the tower was declared unsafe. The tower has since been reconstructed and a new bell frame installed. The bells have now been overhauled and they were returned to working use in 2009.


St Lawrence Church

Now used as a community restaurant and gallery, St Lawrence Church boasts the oldest ring of church bells remaining in the world.

Four of the five bells, known as Wolsey’s bells, were cast in 1450 with the fifth added around thirty years later.


The Orwell Bridge

When the bridge was constructed it was the longest pre-stressed concrete span in use and opened to traffic in 1982.

The bridge is a vital asset to the town with over 60,000 vehicles using it every day.


The Willis building

The town centre building was the youngest Grade I listed building in Britain at the time.

One of the earliest buildings designed by Sir Norman Foster after establishing Foster Associates, it was constructed between 1970 and 1975 and now houses some 1,300 staff in offices spread over three floors.


The Wine Rack

Well known to those visiting the waterfront, the building project was halted for over five years due to financial difficulties.

Construction on the looming concrete skeleton began in 2007 and is a continuing visual reminder of the crippling effects of the credit crunch on the town’s economy.


BT Pegasus Tower

The Pegasus Tower is the standout building at Adastral Park on the outskirts of Ipswich and is home to the UK’s first commercial broadband service.

In keeping with the stellar theme of the site name, buildings on site are named after stars or constellations, including the main lab block, now named the Orion building.


UCS waterfront building

The newest and most innovative building on our list, the building, located on the waterfront, was the first dedicated teaching, learning and social space for UCS.

The building, which opened in 2008, has six floors, one auditorium which seats 200 people, two main lecture theatres each seating 140 people, and 34 teaching rooms seating between 18 and 80 people.


Portman Road Stadium

In 1942, Ipswich Town’s football ground was commandeered by the British Army for use as a training camp to aid the war effort.

Today the stadium is made up of four stands and can hold over 30,000 fans on a match day.


Sir Bobby Robson statue

Proudly standing outside the Ipswich Town football stadium, the Sir Bobby Robson statue is joined, across the road, by a statue of Sir Alf Ramsey.

Ipswich Town is the only club which can boast that two of their managers have gone on to manage the national team, with Sir Alf Ramsey proudly leading the nation to World Cup glory.


The Ipswich Town Hall

The building was opened in January 1868 and on the front of the Town Hall are three heads representing King Richard I, Cardinal Wolsey and King John.

It was King Richard who promised the town its first charter but he died before it could be granted.  King John finally granted the charter in 1200. Cardinal Wolsey is considered the most famous person to have been born in Ipswich.