Rain Bow Gate
Burnley, Lancashire

Rain Bow Gate is a £142k architectural commission for Princess Way in Burnley, located at a major entry point to the town next to the new Burnley College and University of Central Lancashire campus. The project formed part of the public realm redevelopment for a new Education and Enterprise Zone (or Knowledge Quarter) and was funded by ERDF and section 106 monies. 

The form of the chosen proposal by Tonkin Liu, Rain Bow Gate, was inspired by how the viaduct near the site of the artwork frames the view of the surrounding landscape. The pierced steel ‘bow’ structure integrates prisms that capture light to create rainbows, as well as providing a shelter from the weather. The designers worked with structural engineers at Arup to pioneer a new breed of single-surface structure which uses advanced digital modelling, analysis and fabrication tools. The innovative use of steel reflects Burnley’s advanced manufacturing status and future aspirations for the Knowledge Quarter as a centre for design and manufacturing excellence.

As project manager Suzanne developed and managed this project from its inception, writing the artist brief, drawing up the artist contract, managing artist shortlisting, interviews, and selection, liaising with partners including the Regeneration team at Burnley Council, local arts organisations and a consultation group including local councillors. Four shortlisted artists were invited to spend the day in Burnley where they met College students and learnt about the context for the commission. This visit led to their designs, which were guided by the project manager, and presented to an audience in Burnley.

The final delivery of the designs was managed by James Moran-Zietek at Burnley Council.

« Back to Projects


Tonkin Liu


Letts Wheeler


Burnley Borough Council


2010 – 2011