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Ipswich: Let’s turn the symbol of the depression into a work of art

PUBLISHED: 10:50 27 September 2012

Photoshop of the Waterfront Wine Rack

Photoshop of the Waterfront Wine Rack

IT stands as a constant reminder of the recession.

The storeys so far...

The Wine Rack is the second of two towers designed as part of the Regatta Quay development. The first was completed in 2009 shortly before developers City Living went into administration.

There were two major developments at the Waterfront – Regatta Quay and The Mill. Both went into administration in 2009 and 2010. Although owned by rival developers, both owed millions of pounds to Irish banks.

After a visit to the Waterfront by officials from NAMA last year, the decision was taken to link both sites as a single project with one joint administrator.

Regatta Quay was built on the site of Paul’s Maltings while The Mill is on the site of the former Cranfields flour mill.

Dominating the town’s skyline the shell of the Regatta Quay development – dubbed the ‘Wine Rack’ – could be in for a makeover.

In its prominent position on the Waterfront many have questioned what the future holds for the towering, cavernous structure.

For some the buldozers were the only answer while others backed plans to wait until money is available to finish the build.

But Star reader Chris Miller has today put forward his own, unique proposal – to turn the block into a work of art.

The 37-year-old said he sees the structure as a blank canvas calling out for an artist’s brush.

“I know the market’s terrible and they will want to turn it into flats or offices but I’m sure it would be cheaper to paint,” said Mr Miller, of Chantry.

He said he often drives past the building but it was a few days ago when he was moved to mock up his own vision for the ‘Wine Rack’s’ future.

Inspired by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, he fired up his computer and began filling in the empty spaces of the structure in colour – eventually coming up with this creation, pictured.

Modelled on most of Mondrian’s work, Mr Miller insisted his idea could be used as a blueprint to show how the wine rack could be turned around.

He said: “His [Mondrian] work is all straight lines and conventional colours.

“I went to the Tate and saw something like it. There’s a lot of modern art that struck a chord with me.

“There’s not enough public art around and in a place like Ipswich which has been shattered by the recession, there is an opportunity just sitting there, which seems a shame.

“It could be a blank canvas for somebody.”

The ‘Wine Rack’ has laid empty since developers City Living went into administration more than two years ago.

After being exposed to the elements, it was thought the tower would have to be torn down. But a survey has now revealed the building is sound and there are high hopes the project could be completed.

The Ipswich Star attempted to contact the owner of the ‘wine rack’ Baker Tilly but they were unavailable for comment.

■ What do you think of Mr Miller’s idea? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk

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