Next Project

The Sill: A Living Landscape

Part 1 Project 2012
Jack Stephenson
Northumbria University, UK
“The Sill can elicit feelings of being on the brink; anticipating new discoveries and far horizons. It is the foundation stone of a window; allowing us to look back to the edge of the Roman Empire, and out to the whole of the National Park and forward to a sustainable future.”

Located at the picturesque site of Steel Rigg, the subtle scheme has an intimate connection with the landscape. Providing a new focal point, people are lead through a gateway into the landscape, exploring the building upon their return. A new Visitor Centre emerges quietly from the mature tree belt; transforming the way people access and engage with the rich Northumberland context. The Youth Hostel is buried into the sloping topography; allowing the landscape to speak for itself.

Conceptually driven by key elements in the landscape, the new threshold has an unavoidable relationship with nature. Following the clustered form of the surrounding agricultural buildings, the programme is separated into three primary zones. Fundamental aspects of local vernacular architecture are drawn upon alongside reference to the area’s Roman historic context. Local materials of Scottish Larch and Basalt Whinstone root the buildings in their context. They do not resist the landscape, but surrender to the elements as the Larch quickly weathers to a silver grey, and the Whinstone is eventually reclaimed by the landscape where it was once quarried.

Diverting people from the National Trail, the linear route is aligned with key components in the landscape. The concourse exhibition allows people to capture certain moments in time, exploring the protected layers of historic context dating back some 295 million years to the end of the Carboniferous period. Guided by curiosity, the infinite journey extends out across the untouched landscape towards the horizon, providing an opportunity to capture a glimpse of its ephemeral beauty. Upon return, quiet seated steps offer a moment of reflection as the visitors remove their boots before exploring the visitor centre. Returning to the ‘nest,’ the Youth Hostel encourages conversation between like minded people; sharing ideas on the veranda and in the primitive act of gathering around a fire.

Jack Stephenson

Mr Benjamin Elliott
• Page Hits: 3702         • Entry Date: 19 September 2012         • Last Update: 19 September 2012