ONCE dubbed the ugliest building in Swindon, Alexander House has now been transformed into a landmark for the right reasons.
Work on turning one of Swindon’s least attractive office buildings into its biggest piece of art was unveiled yesterday.
A team of abseilers from specialist aerial engineering company SkyTek (UK) Limited, has turned the back of Alexander House, in Fleming Way, into a gigantic, road-themed artwork.
The project came about after an article in the Link Magazine dubbed Alexander House as an eyesore for the town, which upset manager Rachel Hampson.
The idea was taken up by the building’s owners, Lenta Business Centres, along with the Link, to run a competition to come up with novel designs.
The winning entries inspired designer Mike Pringle, 50, of Old Town, to create the six-storey artwork using some of Swindon’s icons as a theme, with roadsigns representing the Magic Roundabout and two fibre-glass MINIs loaned by MINI Plant Swindon, one of which once adorned the side of the factory in Bridge End Road.
Robert Levy, MD of Lenta Business Centre, said: “Rachel got upset by the story and came to me. I was walking through Borough High Street, in Southwark,where we have another building, and there is a building there that had done something similar.
“We want this to be a landmark and would love for other buildings to follow. I think it is great.”
Lenta Business Centres, which has funded the project, hopes the artwork will reflect Swindon’s heritage of murals, following in the footsteps of artist Ken White. He was responsible for many of the murals around the town in the 1970s, including one on Whalebridge Roundabout.
Ken was at the unveiling and said: “I think it is really good. It is a long time since we had new artwork in Swindon, and a lot of mine have gone – there used to be 10 at one point. It would be nice to see more.”
Rachel said: “Swindon is known for its murals. At one point it had the most murals in the country. We were after a design that’s cheerful, younger and funkier.”