Architect: Charles Jencks, UK
Location: Cramlington, UK
Northumberlandia is the world’s largest human form sculpted into the landscape, designed by renowned American-born and England-based landscape architect Charles Jencks.
The woman earth sculpture is lying at the entrance of a surface coal mine in southeast Northumberland, near Cramlington, in the north of England.
Northumberlandia is 400m long and 34m in height at her highest point. It takes about 20 minutes to walk the 1,162m-long path around the landform. The earth sculpture is the centerpiece for a 19-hectare public park in this north part of England.
The architect was appointed to create a sculpture using the machinery and skills of the mining industry, and with residual materials from operations in the mine. This project started in 2010 and most of the sculpture work was completed in 2011 while the park opened to the public in autumn 2012.
For the construction of the earth sculpture, about 1.5 million tonnes of soils (mudstone, sandstone, shale, and clay) were transported and used from the adjacent Shotton surface mine.
To construct the most challenging parts of the sculpture such as the chin, nose, nostrils, and eyebrows, reinforced soil slopes with geogrids and gabions were used because of their flexibility and efficiency. For the drainage, special perforated PCV drainage pipes were installed at the rear of the reinforced soil slope.
Jencks explains that "Northumberlandia does not relate to a particular goddess or religion, it is a landscape which incorporates references to the human body towards which we have a natural empathy. The landform can be enjoyed in parts and within many different contexts including the distant landscape, the causeways, lakes and willow islands, and viewing pavilions."
Technical info: PCV drainage pipes
Picture credits: Glen Bowman, Lorna Jane, Welsmachem, Northumberlandia