Between 1990 and 1993, Brian Clarke designed a series of three interrelated roof lights in stained glass for the Spindles Shopping Centre in his hometown of Oldham, Lancashire. Among the largest stained glass windows in Europe, and some of the largest public artworks in the UK, these panels connect the main public areas of the principal shopping centre in the town.
Originally, the roof lights were conceived as a monumental composition of five roof lights, and included a clerestory in the rotunda window inspired by Oldham-born composer William Walton. The design was later modified to three windows, which cover a total of 6,760 square feet, and are made of leaded, mouth-blown glass laboriously acid-etched, enamelled and screenprinted.
In his essay ‘Into Architecture’ from Brian Clarke: Into and Out of Architecture (1990), Paul Bedlock writes:
‘The glass roofed corridors linking these great spaces have been designed to have the pace of the rhythm of a stately march, punctured by heraldic emblems sufficient to induce a pause of recognition, but not to stop the inevitable flow into the climactic spaces, the points of crescendo.’