We worked with the artist Issam Kourbaj and John Harris, and the structural engineer Philip Cooper, on this proposal for a new spire on the tower of Great St Mary’s church, Cambridge. The spire was to contain a camera obscura to allow distant views of the surrounding landscape. Edward Blore had proposed such a spire in the 19th century, but this would have been a temporary installation, conceived as part of the University’s 800th anniversary celebrations. The RIBA Journal reported enthusiastically on the proposals in October 2006, in an article entitled “Scuse me while I kiss the sky”.
Detailed investigations of the octagonal towers of the church, one of which contains a spiral staircase, revealed that it was impossible to insert a second stair in any of the other towers, and this made it too difficult to gain access for the numbers of visitors necessary to make the project financially viable.