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The Project
The Solar Pyramid will be the world’s biggest timepiece and the UK’s largest work of art.

The project was conceived and designed by local artists Adam Walkden and Richard Lester Swain, of Art in the Environment.

The 58 metre (190ft) structure is being constructed near Chesterfield, in Derbyshire, England, and comprises three highly polished stainless steel leaning blade-like towers, which cast a shadow onto an enormous elliptical sundial base, telling the date and time.

Construction of the pyramid is set to be completed in summer 2007 and there will be a dedicated website at

The Science
Led by Adam and Richard, the project has harnessed the expertise of leading engineers, environmentalists, planners and designers, as well as securing the support of the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Sheffield University.

Combining visionary design with leading edge technology, the team is creating a moving demonstration of the enmeshing of time and space, and the incredible power of the sun.

A state-of-the-art Visitor Centre will be built at the site which, in addition to explaining more about the design and construction of The Solar Pyramid, will become a centre of excellence for exploring the relationship between the earth and sun, and developing ideas for utilising solar energy and movement.

The Art
Artists Adam and Richard are seeking to reflect the passing of time through their landmark artwork.

Their creation of The Solar Pyramid is an exploration of permanence and transience on a truly monumental scale that encompasses the ever-changing landscape and the movement of the skies.

The Design
The three stunning towers will lean dramatically towards an apex 58 metres above ground level without actually meeting, creating a shifting illusion of a pyramidal structure.

The steel superstructure of each blade-like tower will be clad in highly reflective, mirror polished and green-coloured, stainless steel to reflect light and capture movement.

Energy self-sufficient, The Solar Pyramid will incorporate new and innovative solar cell technology.

The tallest of the towers leans at a locational latitude of 53.25 degrees and is orientated due south to function in a similar, but more scientifically sophisticated manner, to that of the gnomon of an immense sundial.

Dynamic shadows will be cast across a 60-metre long elliptical base marked out to depict complex and accurate astronomical and chronological information.

The two secondary towers will be in precise alignment with the extremes of sunrise and sunset.

Sunk 25 metres beneath the centre point of the base will be a chronometer controlled by satellite accurate to Universal Time, and emitting a light pulse to the surface every second.

Location and Impact
The Solar Pyramid is the centrepiece of the new Pools Brook Country Park, once the site of the former Ireland Colliery, and is being constructed on a man-made hill overlooking a lake.

The structure will be visible from the M1 between junctions 29 and 30 – a striking and dominant feature in the landscape, glittering by day and glowing luminescent by night.

The Solar Pyramid is destined to become a powerful symbol and stimulus of the cultural, scientific and economic renaissance of the UK’s coal and steel heartland.


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