Paul Bulkeley, who founded Snug Architects in Southampton, is en route to become one of the UK’s most noteworthy architects after his design for a new national prayer landmark, Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer got the green light for build.
Bulkeley’s impressive concept of a never-ending Möbius strip stood out as the winning design in a global Royal Institute of British Architects’ competition between 2016-2019 which attracted 133 entries from 28 countries.
Built of one million bricks on a site near Birmingham, Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will be one of the biggest crowd-created collaborative projects in the world, digitally linking every single brick in its structure to a personal story of answered prayer submitted from individuals all across the UK. Using interactive technology and a bespoke app, visitors will be able to use their smart device, holding it against any brick to read the specific answered prayer story behind each one.
The huge Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will eclipse the Angel of the North, to stand 169ft high. it is expected to attract 300,000 visitors each year, contributing £9.3 million to the Warwickshire economy..
Bulkeley, who studied architecture at Cardiff University, launched his award-winning architecture practice, Snug Architects, in Winchester in 2003, and now runs his business from Totton near Southampton, he says:
“As I’ve been part of the journey, I’ve realised that this monument will not only be awe-inspiring as a piece of public art, but I”m also convinced it will be loved as an iconic landmark of hope communicating the value of prayer to the visual and interactive age in the 21st century. I am delighted to be part of such a ground-breaking Christian venture and look forward to seeing the design now become a reality.”
After North Warwickshire Borough Council granted planning permission, the Secretary of State ratified the decision, giving Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer CEO Richard Gamble, architect Paul Bulkeley, and the wider team the go ahead to start construction. The former chaplain of Leicester City Football Club is the visionary behind the monumental project.
Gamble says: “It’s been 16 years since the idea was first born. To finally receive the official consent is incredible. We are building a very special landmark and it is an amazing opportunity for the British people to leave a legacy of hope for future generations. Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will make hope visible to the UK. The unique thing about the project is that it’s all about the community: it’s crowdfunded and a million people will come together to crowd-create this incredible piece of art with their stories of hope. What we’re doing is historic.”
It is anticipated that Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will create 60 new jobs during its two year construction phase from 2021, thereafter providing 20 full-time positions for employees to work for the charity in the visitor centre, café, bookstore and a 24 hour on-site chaplaincy support service. It is also estimated that the monument will generate an additional gross social value of £1.4 billion, including £430 million in charitable donations.
Gamble continues: “We want to celebrate and remember the prayers that God has answered for individuals throughout our nation’s history. Each answered prayer could provide hope to those who visit. Our desire is to create thought-provoking public art and offer a space for recreation and reflection for everyone. Our hope is that those who visit will see how God can bring peace in life’s storms and be encouraged to think about the power and relevance of prayer. One individual’s answered prayer can be another person’s hope.”
Planning and development consultancy Turley provided support on planning, EIA, economics, strategic communications, sustainability, and landscape and visual impact assessment for the project. Fran Rowley, Director at planning and development consultancy Turley said:
“Eternal Wall has been a unique planning project with an inspiring team behind it and we’re delighted that it has been given the green light by North Warwickshire Borough Council. We are proud to be involved, providing a multi-service and collaborative approach to support the delivery of such a dynamic and elegant architectural sculpture.
“Once built, we’ve no doubt this will become a much loved British landmark and provide a valued focus for recreation, heritage, reflection and hope. We look forward to seeing its positive impact on the Midlands landscape by 2022.”
Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2021 with completion in Autumn 2022.
Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer is looking to gather one million answers to prayer from every city and region in the UK. Share yours by going to www.eternalwall.org.uk/testimony