As a Coventrian, I was always saddened by how little people knew about the city and the Godiva legend. This project tries to redress that, and widen Godiva’s influence as an ambassador for peace and reconciliation.
Lead project architect, Make
As part of the Cultural Olympiad accompanying the 2012 London Olympics, a 6m mechanical puppet of Lady Godiva was paraded through Coventry, and then transported to London on a 50-seater ‘Cyclopedia’, in celebration of the noblewoman’s strength and resolve – the traits of Olympians worldwide. The event’s organisers asked Make to create a monument to Godiva’s legacy, a place to house the puppet permanently.
Our design envisions a building that tells the story of its tenant. Two steel-clad gable walls evoke poise and power, while eight backlit stained glass windows, conceived by Dutch artist Frans Wesselman, depict scenes from Coventry’s history. Perforations in the wall invoke the famous myth of Peeping Tom and let onlookers glimpse inside.
This interior is likewise symbolic. Two chainmail curtains dominate the space as part of a dramatic interpretation of Godiva’s bedchamber, their sensuous, draping curves nods to strength and femininity.
The house is an imaginative, unorthodox sculpture. It’s a homage to Coventry’s part in the celebrations surrounding the Olympic Games and a tribute to a figure who embodies their values: fair play, respect, courage and strength.