B of the Bang
The studio won the competition to design a commemorative sculpture for the 2002 Commonwealth Games to be placed outside the main stadium which would become the home ground of Manchester City Football Club. The team wondered how to represent or connect with the Commonwealth Games that had taken place there. Existing monuments commemorating international sporting events all seemed to celebrate international cooperation and harmony. But given that most athletes’ success de-pends on their ability to channel intense energy for fractions of a second, which is anything but peaceful, the studio decided its sculpture should instead be as dynamic-looking as possible. It began to think about the silhouette that a large sculpture creates against the sky and how it might use this silhouette to express extreme dynamism. Instead of a singular smooth entity, it chose to splice the object and the sky together. By giving it texture on such a gigantic scale, the studio formed a shape with a vast perimeter, creating fingers that stretched out into the sky and in turn allowed fingers of sky to extend back into the form. It named the project B of the Bang after a piece of advice passed on by champion sprinter Linford Christie: when the starting pistol is fired, leave the blocks on the ‘B’ of the bang – don’t wait for the ‘ang’. The studio was devastated when the project developed a technical problem and was taken down in 2009, four years after its completion, by Manchester City Council.


New East Manchester (Manchester City Council, English Partnerships, North-West Regional Development Agency)


Manchester, UK







Studio team

Rachel Hain, Stuart Wood


Abacus, Alfred MacAlpine, Alfa Construction, Angle Ring, Butterley, Butterley Pierce, Aker Kvaerner Heavy Industries, CF Booth, Flint & Neil, Manage, Invisible Cities, Professor Michael Burdekin, Professor C. Baker, Ron Packman, Toby Maclean, Thyssen, Westbury Structures, Steelbenders, Stent Foundations, Sheffield Forgemasters, William Hare