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Centre for the Designed Landscape

Part 1 Project 2002
Ciara Reddy
University of Dundee, UK
The conceptual basis for this project strives to espouse the discipline of archaeology with understanding of the site, seeking out its origin and filtering to unearth information for its further transformation. It is discovered rather than designed.

The new building captures its environment. Its elevations are laid out as a series of horizontal lines that accompanies, displays and underscores the vertical event of the castle tower and matches the dimensions of the walled garden. It is intended to provide sensitivity to the site, to the nature of materials and subjectivity in terms of making a distinctive response to the brief.

The building is both entrance and exit to its landscape. It is organised in plan and section around two courtyards, a garden and a pathway. In the plan of the visitor’s centre there is a series of interlocking autonomous pieces, which defined both by function and constructional method, express different senses of place. The rhythmic volumes are linked together inside to outside by the movement along the route. Each separate element has its own validity and own relationship to site and form. The crumbling shell of the old building is kept but its bonds loosed by shifting the symmetry.

The building is made up of internal and external spaces, which interlock to make a series of interdependent components. The monolithic form of the building rises out of the ground like a newly discovered, half excavated, charred remain. This is in stark contrast to the bright, south facing, glazed interior façade of the sunken courtyard that has been hollowed out of its centre. This void makes a landscape connection with the adjacent courtyard and garden of the castle. It acts as the negative void to the positive volume of the timber box.

The light timber structure evokes the delicate timber skeleton that was once encased in the monolithic shell of the castle. The new buildings contain memories within their morphology of the characteristics of the pre-existing buildings and spaces, emulating the original landscape pattern of Edzell Castle. Interior walls have become exterior walls and have crumbled away to give way to framed views.

It is intended that each material of the new centre will corrode over time, like the crumbling red sandstone of the castle. The timber structure will weather in different ways. The outer timber face will become very different in texture to the sheltered inner void. This central space will transform seasonally, changing with the tree foliage.

In my project I have tried to conceive a sensitive relationship to the site, and an open dialogue between the place it inhabits and its environment.

Ciara Reddy

This programme looked at the design of a Landscape research centre and associated visitor centre adjacent to a ruined castle in Angus. The brief called for a sensitive response to this complex site, in addition the functions outlined called for private and public areas to exist in close proximity. Ciara’s project was chosen primarily for the exceptionally mature and sophisticated response to the site. In addition to the ruined castle courtyard, the site also contains a walled renaissance garden; Ciara used this existing geometry and variety of enclosure to develop her solution, a sunken courtyard, mirrored by a “floating” timber pavilion. The design takes careful account of the sequence of movement from point-to-point – enclosure-to-enclosure. The students were asked to explore their ideas at a variety of scales, examining different issues. Ciara’s presentation included a 1:20 model of the intersection between sunken courtyard and floating pavilion, exhibiting a careful and considered use of detail and material. The wall, which rises out of the courtyard and “anchors” the pavilion also organises the vertical circulation, both the public route on one side, and its mirror image which deals with private access to the research facilities on the other.

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