Transforming the Heartlands development in Cornwall with 15 tonne sections of visual concrete walls.



Heartlands is a £35 million development which aimed to transform the Robinson's Shaft complex, a former Cornish tin mine, into a thriving cultural landscape and social enterprise. The 8-hectare site in Pool, Cornwall will feature a World Heritage Exhibition on Cornish Mining, parkland, gardens, community and event space.

Public art and inclusive design is central to Heartlands and Walter Jack, artist and maker, was commissioned with a brief to create a new retaining wall for the site.

Walter's inspiration came about while building an extension to his own house. His builders were at a stage of pouring concrete on top of a plastic sheet to prevent damp. Noticing that the plastic had been slightly crumpled, Walter was inspired by how smooth and volumptuous set concrete could be when moulded. He set out to recreate the bridge between the liquid roots of concrete and the solid set state of the material for his Heartlands commission.


Calling on the technical and design expertise of local materials supplier Ladds Concrete, Walter's concept was able to come to life.

We created 30m of formwork from plywood and long sheet of rubber, which we crumpled and folded to create a giant jelly mould in which the concrete set.

The formwork was then cut away into six sections and filled with concrete. The specialised concrete used was Cemflow, a self-compacting mix of an architectural grade, used for high quality finishes. Cemflow is specially designed to provide a high fluid consistency and is also formulated to be up to 50% better for the environment than traditional concrete by utilising secondary aggregates where possible.

Project details

  • Cornwall Council

  • Public realm

  • Walter Jack

    • Six sections of wall of up to 15 tonnes each
    • Total bespoke walling units fit for brief and specification
    • Expert advice and technical knowledge of the properties and capabilities of concrete
    • Joined up practices between Ladds Concrete manufacturing and our concrete division supply

Fortunately we found your team who embraced the concept and have been a huge source of information and support. We have also had the benefit of some excellent advice, particularly from concrete specialist David Bennett, which has been invaluable

Walter Jack
Walter Jack Studio