above: Linen "bleachgreens", circa 1870
     
 The twin gantry cranes Sampson and Goliath are functional icons of Belfast’s once-dominant shipbuilding industry.  They stand over thirty stories tall, looming over the Harland and Wolff shipyard and one of the world’s largest dry-docks. They are taller and broader than any building in Belfast.  The cranes are symbols of Belfast’s urban identity.  Although they are an official landmark, their continued existence beyond their current use is not certain.
 The gantry cranes are rarely commissioned to work on a large vessel, rather they can spend months, sometimes years, sitting unused.  The dormant cranes frame a unique, massive void. 
 “Loom” reworks that void with a hanging lattice, descending to the surface below in a half-catenary curve that is moored to the earth by a living garden.  The lattice is designed to be easily removed and reinstalled in the event of a commission, and the garden below is positioned at the far end of the Harland and Wolff shipyards, an area little used and closest to the new residential and commercial development known as the Titanic Quarter.
 The lattice is composed of strips of woven, jute, erosion-control fabric. These are anchored by mounds of earth seeded in alternating rows with yellow-flowering rape-seed and blue-flowering flax, two crops that evoke Northern Ireland’s transformation from a rural to industrial economy through linen and seed oils. Over the course of the installation these colorful crops will blend into an undulating field.  The colors of this field are distinctly non-sectarian, in a city where specific colors - green, red, blue and orange - can evoke anxiety and emotion, the blue and yellow of Loom embrace Belfast’s new civic identity. 
 Belfast is a city in rebirth after decades of sectarian strife. In recent years, the city has worked to reconstitute urban spaces, soften barriers that once separated antagonists, and create a new civic iconography.  Some of these efforts have been effective, others have been viewed with skepticism.  The gantry cranes Sampson and Goliath are universally considered symbols of the city.  This is a post-conflict development. The collective understanding of what these cranes represent was not driven by a developer’s initiative or publicity campaign. The cranes are neutral territory, they are accidental icons that speak to the strength of Belfast without sectarian divides.  Numbers:   Aggregate and Soil: 110m x 50m x 3m = 16,500m3 (360ft x 165ft x 9.8ft = 582,000ft3)  486ft3 per truckload= 1197 truckloads  Woven jute erosion control fiber 2.45m (8ft) wide: (23) x130m lengths = 2,990m (3 kilometers, 1.4 miles)  Open spiral strand stainless steel cable = 150m  77kilograms of seed
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