A new steel sculpture designed to double up as a home for wildlife is set to be put up on the edge of a new Saltdean housing estate.
The Bower sculpture, paid for by developers Gold (Saltdean), will be erected on Coombe Farm in Westfield Avenue, close to 72 new homes currently being built on the site, subject to planning permission.
The arched shelter would be made with weathering steel and is hoped to be a nest site for barn owls and bats as well as provide a home for pollinating insects.
It has been designed by Lewes-based sculptor and artist Will Nash, who said in the planning application he has been inspired by “local lost settlements”.
He said: “These mysterious abandoned places are reminders of another age, prior to the industrial revolution our ancestors shaped their surroundings to their needs using simple tools and resources to create shelter and feed themselves.
“The form of the work is a hybrid of agricultural and ecclesiastical architecture, the geometry of the structure is distorted to create an uncanny feeling, a sense that this structure is not quite real.
“This idea will complement the architectural approach taken at Coombe Farm of arranging the houses and community space along the lines of traditional farmyards.
“The artwork will also draw on the knowledge of ecologists to achieve an original, high quality, low maintenance, long lasting structure that will provide suitable habitat for local species whilst utilising sustainable design techniques and materials.
“The perforations in its surface, inspired by the organic geometry of Adonis Blue Butterfly eggs, are designed to support pollinator friendly climbing plants that will eventually colonise the lower two thirds of the structure creating opportunities for birds
The sculpture is part of Gold (Saltdean)’s landscaping and community contribution to the development, as required in the 2020 planning approval, which included a condition it includes an artistic component to the minimum value of £53,400.
The word ‘bower’, which means dwelling, chamber or leafy shelter, comes from ‘bauer’ the old German word for peasant, builder and birdcage.
The materials used in the sculpture would be self-protecting, high-strength, and non-corrosive.
The sculpture’s location was chosen to be an accessible site from the South Downs National Park and Saltdean.
You can find the full planning application on the council’s planning portal here: BH2023/00259.