The 18th Storey – The Haddon Tower Project was set within a condemned residential towerblock in Birmingham.   Behind Closed Doors invited artists to make new site responsive works within the vacated flats and corridors of the 18th floor. The Haddon Tower was opened to the public for a week in March 2006. This project was made possible by Optima Community Housing who granted access to the block and offered continual support during the project, as well as Arts Council England who funded the project.





Paul Newman, Leon Trimble and Arlene Burnett working on The 18th Storey.


This piece of work became one of the Suspicious Circumstances series. The fire left in the flat was hung from the ceiling and then photographed. The photograph was place in the room where the image had been taken, the original fire was removed. When the audience entered the room they were then in the space within the photograph. This method of working from the environment and placing a photograph in the space is evident throughout Arlene’s work, such as the Suspicious Circumstances series, the photographs in Tell No One and the pinhole set within the shipping container in the Secret Garden.


This piece wasn’t photographed instead the viewers entered the room and were confronted with the actual scene.


This small sculpture and others in the series were responses to the landscape outside the windows of the block where vast expanses of the city could be seen.



The whole area around Haddon Tower was under extensive regeneration.


Although Optima has the electric supply turned back on during the residency the flats were freezing due to the block being uninhabited, the concrete in the north facing flats also absorbed the moisture from the air making it even colder and damp.


David Brinkworth’s kitchen.

After working with Dave on Tell No One Behind Closed Doors invited him to create a piece of work for this project.  All the sand had to be removed after the project prior to the building being demolished because it was being demolished with explosives. The whole building was eventually gutted, doors, windows baths etc. were all removed.


The shell of Haddon Tower awaiting demolishment.



After working in the block and staging The 18th Storey, i was sad to see the block come down, however many residents were happy to see it go and to be rehomed into newly built accomodation as part of the regeneration of the area. As the block came down a big cheer was let out from the crowd.


The clean up process begins straight away.


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