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Whitby Headland Project

Part 2 Project 1999
Julia Baker
Simon Feneley
University of Lincoln, UK
The concept of retreat implies space for contemplation and discussion. The Centre for Peace, Study and Retreat provides short term escape, enabling us to discover our innerself. The Whitby Headland Project is a response to a study by Scarborough Council as to the future and potential of the headland. The scheme intends to create spaces that are spiritual, yet inspire reflection, to achieve a sense of place, and a sense of mind. The retreat has an emotional relationship with the windswept landscape. The building acts as a 'living wall', enclosing the inhabitants from the outside world. The building appears as a new stone wall that, as it grows from the clifftop reveals itself as a building. 'Landscape device' or 'building', it manipulates the existing landscape interlocking with medieval earthworks. The wall is articulated in order to embrace the Abbey and its sacred land. Spaces between the key elements (workshop, library, dormitory and chapel) become resting, reading and contemplative opportunities, offering specific glimpses and panoramic views of the Abbey, coastline, moorland, valley and fishing harbour below. Gabion wall, polished concrete, glass and subterranean spaces combine to create various atmospheres, creating a calm sense of place within the wall. The spartan character of this holy place communicates an atmosphere of profound spirituality - offering a welcoming space for silence, prayer, study and spiritual hospitality in a shared environment of monastic peace.

Julia Baker
Simon Feneley

statement to be e-mailed to RIBA by tutor on 30/9/99.
tutor e-mail address:

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