George King Architects ‘Willow Tree’ Wins Sheffield Covid Memorial Competition

The “meaningful, long-term and creative tribute to those who lost their lives” was created during the pandemic at Balm Green Gardens, just north of the emerging Heart of the City II development.

The statue will be made locally and form part of a £240,000 overhaul of the parks, which lie opposite the enclosed city. But now included 1963 John Lewis Store.

The competition was run by Sheffield Museums on behalf of Sheffield City Council and attracted 14 entries.

to me practiceFounded in 2015 by George King, the former talent of Grimshaw Architects and Zaha Hadid, the design represents the branches of a willow tree twisting and turning before joining together to create the trunk, a symbol that as a community we are stronger together and that by supporting each other we can endure adversity.”

The architect added, ‘The willow tree has a graceful, flexible structure that bends to accommodate strong winds and adverse weather rather than snapping, meaning it has become a symbol of resilience. Architecturally, the shape of the willow tree, with its far-reaching branches dangling to the ground, creates a welcoming, sheltered, sheltered space beneath that people can use to gather, remember, and leave flowers on anniversaries.

The statue will include messages from the local community, including reflections on people’s experience with the pandemic, tributes to loved ones and messages of thanks to healthcare workers.

The designs allow others to be added over time which will be embroidered on long ribbons representing the long, flowing leaves of the willow tree which will be attached to the branches of the tree.

“When we thought about Covid and how the pandemic affected so many people, the idea of ​​the willow tree was powerful to us,” said George King. The willow has a strong trunk which symbolizes how people work together to create the strength needed in such a difficult time. It is also a resilient and resilient tree, while also being sensitive. When a storm hits, the tree bows with it.

He added, “Its long branches extend to the ground, and when it rains, drops fall along the branches like tears on the ground. When you stand under a willow tree you feel embraced and protected.

Councilor Terry Fox, chair of Sheffield City Council, said: ‘We’ve worked so hard to get to this point, so I’m really pleased that work can now begin on the statue which will serve as a permanent memorial to those who lost their lives, those who worked the most to preserve On the safety of people as much as possible who have been affected by Covid.

We are fully aware that some groups have been disproportionately impacted by Covid, we are committed to making sure their voices are reflected in this memorial and committed to reducing the inequalities we see in the city as much as possible.

Sheffield’s Heart of the City masterplan showing the site of the proposed Covid memorial at Balm Green Gardens

project’s data

location Palm Green Gardens, Sheffield
local authority Sheffield City Council
Project Type Memorial, including sculpture and landscape
Client Sheffield City Council
architecture George King Architects
Landscape architect Sheffield City Council internally
Planning consultant no one
Structural Engineer TBC
The main contractor TBC
financing Sheffield City Council
Bid date TBC
Start on site January 2023
completion March 2023
Duration of the contract Three months
Area Landscaped gardens: 470 square meters. Sculpture: 12.5 m²
Contract form TBC
annual carbon dioxide emissions TBC
Total cost £240,000, including landscaping work at Palm Green Gardens to improve accessibility and lighting

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