Central Manchester University Hospitals commissioned the building of the Summerhouse in the context of the rebuilding of St Mary’s Hospital. Sited in the grounds of the new Maternity Unit it creates a tranquil, flexible space within the busy environment of a hospital setting.
Created together with Sharon Campbell, Lauren Sagar imagined an abandoned and neglected Victorian Summerhouse: a simple glass structure apparently etched with a delicate tracery of decorative patterning reminiscent of a sumptuous glass-house of years gone by.
“…it has made the hospital a more positive and uplifting place to be… it is the ongoing projects that Sagar and Campbell have installed inside it that have created a sense of ongoing life and excitement.”
Susan Allison, Director of Corporate Services, Central Manchester University Hospitals
On completing The Summerhouse in 2010, the artists were drawn to the potential for what could happen in the glasshouse itself, seeing it as a context for experimenting with installation ideas. They curated a series of interventions within the Summerhouse, where the positive responses of the staff at the hospital informed the development of the programme.
The programme included a live performance from cellist and performer Li Lu and an installation of stacked rolls of bed-sheets by artist Annie Harrison. There were further playful interventions from the artists themselves such as filling the glass structure with a multitude of white origami paper birds and a mass of huge white spherical balloons.