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Pictish Stones Museum, Stirling

Part 2 Project 2001
Stefano Turato
Cardiff University Cardiff UK
The museum is a celebration of the power of narrative as a means of architectural expression. The Pictish Stones exhibited within the building compose an architectural drama through the manipulation of light. The outcome is a spatial experience that is moulded to inform the visitor of the meaning of the stones and their significance to a Scottish culture long forgotten. Inspiration was sought from the cemetery bordering the museum site in which the passing of time and the celebration of life share a poetic existence.

Shadows cast from gravestones mark a harmonious union between life (from the sun) and death (from the grave stones). Carefully choreographed views of the cemetery and Stirlingshire are enjoyed from inside the museum designed to reinforce the narrative of life used as a theme for the journey.
It was considered appropriate to incorporate a 15thC ruin on the site as part of the museum, and to use a palette of materials that would be sympathetic to the historical urban dialogue expressed in the existing buildings of Stirling. Granite secures the building to its site so that it is perceived as being rooted to the volcanic rock on which it sits. Nature would eventually embrace its new acquisition.

Legibility through a harmonious relationship between material expression and form and enhanced by light provides a wordless narrative that enables the architecture to be understood in terms of its formation and existence.

Stefano Turato


This project is located in the historic core of Stirling, on a site below the castle. It is concerned with two central themes; the relation of new architecture to historic structures and the potential of architecture to achieve a response to the conservation and display of a specific group of artifacts.

The response of the design to its context is achieved in part through its materiality, but is more significantly founded on a spatial structure, a sequence of platforms, open and enclosed, that follows from the complex morphology of this part of the historic city.

Characteristically, Pictish stones are between 1.5m and 2.0m high and have fine bas relief decoration. A major part of the design development was to find means of illuminating these to reveal their specific qualities and, at the same time, to use light as a primary material in the expressive language of the building.

Once again the design brings together poetics and technique. It was the second highest in the year.

2001
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