Hero of the Week Award goes to Thanet District Council for giving the go-ahead to Alex Chinneck‘s brilliant and ambitious intervention, in the Cliftonville district of Margate, which saw the artist “peel off” the front of a disused house to reveal the decay inside. In the last 30 years the once-grand town has suffered some problems, but Margate is resolved to using culture as a means of regeneration (the David Chipperfield-designed Turner Contemporary a recent example of this), and this traffic-stopping example is proof the powers-that-be are willing to back their policy.
28-year-old Chinneck’s project From the Knees Of My Nose to the Belly Of My Toes takes the description “in need of a facelift” quite literally. The façade of this old timer looks like it has succumbed to gravity, whereas in reality the slippage is a deceptive piece of construction that took 12 months and £100,000 to realise – although 10 firms donated the materials, manpower and expertise to make it all happen. It’s a whole new frontage that uses a curved wooden frame on which the brickwork is laid, with the top floor left brutally exposed in its previous condition having been vacant for the past 11 years.
It’s not just Thanet council that deserves plaudits – the following all lent their support to make the project possible and are thoroughly deserving of a namecheck: Arts Council England, Margate Arts Creativity Heritage, Ibstock Brick, Smith and Wallwork Engineers, Norbord, Macrolux, WW Martin, Urban Surface Protection, Jewson, RJ Fixings, Resort Studios, Cook Fabrications, the Brick Development Association, and All Access Scaffolding. Take a bow.