About the Apollo

In 1955, Victor Pasmore was appointed Consulting Director of Architectural Design of the Peterlee development corporation. He chose to design the town around a central abstract artwork and pavilion, eventually naming it the Apollo Pavilion as a reference to the optimism of the Apollo Space Program.

The Pavilion is made of reinforced concrete that was cast in situ. The design consists of large geometric planes of white concrete, the only decoration being two oval murals. The structure spans a small lake that frames a large geometric statue by Pasmore; in its original form, the Pavilion provided a pedestrian link between the two halves of the estate.

Victor Pasmore described it as “… an architecture and sculpture of purely abstract form through which to walk, in which to linger and on which to play, a free and anonymous monument which, because of its independence, can lift the activity and psychology of an urban housing community on to a universal plane.”[citation needed]

The work remains a rare UK example of a large scale experiment in the synthesis of art and architecture. “It stands today,” says Richard Cork, “as a fascinating example of how contemporary artists can translate their concerns into wholly architectural terms, and how even the restricted budget of a new town is able, given the necessary degree of commitment, to yield funding for a purely imaginative feat.”

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