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Rathlin Island : A Productive Edge

Part 2 Project 2011
Gerard Tohill
Queen's University Belfast, UK
This thesis is an investigation into the potential for architecture at an edge condition. The project is located on Rathlin Island, the only inhabited Island off the coast of Northern Ireland. The brief is for a kelp farm and open air sea baths.

The site was chosen after several studies of the Island’s perimeter, focussing on the shores found along the Southern most point of Rathlin. This remote site provided an opportunity to develop a building or series of structures that could engage with the unique spatial qualities associated with an Island edge condition.

Close readings of this area of coastline produced a series of drawings that carefully represented the landscape and informed the design process, allowing issues regarding site, topography and context to be dealt with sensitively.

Whilst making these studies the strip of land found between high and low tides became of particular significance. The ‘littoral zone’ provided a place in which to explore the potential for a building in a highly specific context with a transient quality.

The programme was also developed in consideration to the needs of Islander’s requirements for an alternative means of economic income. The decline in the fishing industry and heavy reliance on seasonal tourism has led to depopulation of the Island.

The proposed kelp farm would take advantage of the abundance of kelp growing along the shoreline and provide opportunities for a new sustainable industry on the Island.

Gerard Tohill

Mr Alan Jones
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