Ziggurat in pub's deer park could stay for good

The Sol LeWitt pyramid in the deer park at Gunton estate. 

The Sol LeWitt pyramid in the deer park near the Gunton Arms pub. - Credit: Supplied by the Gunton Arms

The UEA's stepped student digs are famous, and the similarly-shaped St Mary's church tower in Burgh St Peter is also well-known. 

But for the past decade Norfolk has been home to at least one more ziggurat which fewer people know about - and it could now be here to stay. 

Deep in the deer park next to the Gunton Arms pub between Cromer and North Walsham is a five-metre-high blocky pile designed by American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt, who died in 2007. 

Ivor Braka, the pub's owner and Chelsea-based art dealer, has had temporary permission to have the structure there since he had it built to LeWitt's designs in 2012, and now an application has gone in on his behalf to leave it there permanently. 

Mr Braka said the artwork was worth up to £1 million - but that figure just covered the model and the right to build it - and not the actual structure at Gunton Park. 

Ivor Braka is renovating The Suffield Arms pub at Gunton near North Walsham and hopes to open later

Ivor Braka, whose pub the Gunton Arms has a ziggurat in its grounds. - Credit: Archant

Mr Braka said: "If I sell it, I'm supposed to knock it down, and then the person I sell it to gets the model and they can rebuild it. 

"I like conceptual art for this reason. People got used to the idea of minimalist artists in the 1960s. They took pleasure in using an undiluted industrial product."

Most Read

Mr Braka said LeWitt - who played a leading role in the conceptual art movement - visited the Gunton Arms before he died. They enjoyed a lunch and a "really great bottle of claret" while talking about where the pyramid could sit.

LeWitt advised the landlord the structure could go anywhere except in a focal point like the centre of a garden because it was a "primary structure". 

No objections have been raised against the ziggurat - which has a base of 25 square metres - remaining in place, and it will be up to North Norfolk District Council to decide. 

The application says: "The installation is one of a range of artistic pieces from world-renowned artists both within the grounds of the park and inside the Gunton Arms pub.

"All of these art installations are open to free public view and form an important element of the offering of the Gunton Arms, a business that is a well acknowledged destination for locals and visitors alike."

Ziggurats - a step above

Ziggurats, or stepped pyramids, are believed to have been first built in Mesopotamia more than 2,000 years ago. 

Some of the best-known modern examples are the student residences at the University of East Anglia on the outskirts of Norwich, designed by Denys Lasdun and built in the 1960s. 

The Ziggurat buildings at the UEA.University of East Anglia.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The Ziggurat buildings at the UEA. - Credit: Simon Finlay

The buildings are divided into flats for 12 students each, sharing a kitchen and a diner. 

The tower of St Mary's in Burgh St Peter, near Lowestoft, is also a ziggurat. This unusual structure was built in the 18th century by Rev Samuel Boycott as a mausoleum for himself.

It is supposedly based on a church which Rev Boycott's son saw on a 'Grand Tour' of Italy.

St Mary the Virgin, Burgh St Peter.Ziggurat tower.Picture: James Bass

The ziggurat tower at St Mary's church in Burgh St Peter. - Credit: James Bass