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    Shrewsbury’s Quantum Leap

    Concrete is a workhorse of modern architecture and landscapes, with a huge variety of utilitarian uses ranging from buildings and paths to tables and chairs. But concrete doesn’t have to spend all its time languishing within the realms of the functional. Concrete can be beautiful.

    Shrewsbury council certainly think so – a great example of beautiful concrete comes in the form of the Shrewsbury Quantum Leap, a twelve metre high structure erected in Mardol Quay Gardens, opposite Theatre Severn. The ambitious art piece, with its 31 pre-fabricated concrete ribs each weighing three tonnes, was officially unveiled on the 8th of October 2009 by Darwin’s great great grandson Randal Keynes, and since then it has attracted a roaring tourist trade. In 2010 it contributed over £137 million to Shropshire’s economy.

    The structure is designed to be interpreted in different ways, and indeed, it has already been compared to a slinky toy, human vertebrae, DNA and more.

    It also celebrates Shropshire’s unique geology — the county features representations from 10 out of the 12 major geological periods. To add to this, it is made out of locally quarried stone aggregate, and nicely complements the Bronze figure of Charles Darwin outside the town library. One of Darwin’s key early interests was geology, before he went on his voyage of scientific innovation.

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