Tottenham Court Road Mosaic Arches (1984)
Gifted in 2015
Art Collection: EU3960
Designed by Eduardo Paolozzi as one part of his commission for Tottenham Court Road Tube Station in London, the arches sat over the station’s main escalators for 30 years. They were largely abstract in design and consisted of two structures comprised of three archways.
As a result of redevelopment works in 2015, the arches were removed from the station. The preservation of the arches had been the subject of a public petition and campaign initiated by heritage organisation Twentieth Century Society. Although the campaign failed, this public interest meant that Transport for London (TfL) were obliged to find a home for the fragments of the arches.
The University of Edinburgh was scouted and subsequently approved as their home by TfL and the Paolozzi Foundation as a result of Paolozzi’s links to the city, Edinburgh College of Art and the University Art Collection. Over 600 mosaic fragments were gifted to the University in October 2015. With the help of the School of Informatics, the University Art Collection has established that this material amounts to only 33% of the arches.
Since their arrival, the fragments have been integrated into teaching and research at the University. Along with being a seed for an exhibition and award-winning public symposium, the mosaics have become a case study for teaching on ideas ranging from Public Art, conservation to artist’s copyright. To date over 250 students have been involved with the mosaics through teaching, specialised study or research.
Story by Liv Laumenech, Public Art Officer