We have of course been here before – to have a general look around and on a Modernist Mooch.
Now I want to look in detail at the exterior ceramic art.
The façade of the market hall on Queensgate incorporates five roof sections with patent glazing and is decorated with square ceramic panels by Fritz Steller, entitled Articulation in Movement, set over natural stone cladding.
These continue across the façade of the adjoining shops, to make nine panels in all, with a tenth larger panel added in 1972, pierced by stairs and an entrance to the market hall from Queensgate.
They have representations of the mushroom shells of the market hall, turned through 90 degrees, with abstract representations of the goods available within.
The enormous abstract art panels weigh almost 50 tons.
Seen here in the 1970s when the trees and cars were smaller – though trousers and lapels were considerably wider.
1941 Born in Dresden, Germany.
1959-1964 Studied sculpture and architecture at Birmingham College of Art, Birmingham, UK. Specialised in sculpture.
Until 1969 Head of Art at Sebright School, Wolverley, near Kidderminster, Worcestershire, UK.
1969-1977 Established and led the Square One Design Workshop and Transform Ceramic Company, Snitterfield, near Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK.
1977 -1980 Established and led ceramic production in Isithebe- Mandini, Kwazulu, South Africa.
1980 Left South Africa due to basic fundamental differences of opinion over the apartheid regime. Established and led an art centre and gallery in Ewzulwini Valley near Mbabane, Swaziland.
1992 After the destruction of the art centre and gallery moved to Germany.
Since 1993 has set up a new business in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal.
Fritz now lives and works in South Africa and Germany as an internationally recognised artist.
Designed by the J Seymour Harris Partnership – now Seymour Harris Architects, the building was opened on 6 April 1970 and features a roof structure based on 21 asymmetric paraboloid shells.
The practice was inspired by Mexican Felix Candela for the innovative, lightweight concrete roof sections.
Steller met the project’s lead architect Gwyn Roberts while they were both at college in Birmingham.
Roberts was never to see his masterpiece listed, the architect, who left the practice to set up on his own in the early ’70s, died in 2004.
Along the north wall of the hall is a relief sculpture entitled Commerce, in black painted metal with semi-abstract figures representing agriculture, trade and products, also by Fritz Steller.
So let’s have a look at the largest ceramic sculpture in the world – partially obscured by trees.