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The Heroic Journey: A Pilgrim’s Refugio

Part 1 Project 2012
Zara Ashby
University of Bath, UK
It can be said that in our modern world, enchantment that was once so important and prevalent has ceased to exist, or at least is less regularly encountered during everyday life. Today’s fast paced society and materialism, where the idea that only the visible and measurable exists, have replaced this ancient spirituality, resulting in a disconnected form of architecture that does not relate personally to those living it. It is common belief within religion and spirituality that enchantment can be reached through meditation and other repetitive acts such as walking. The tourist and the pilgrim have many similarities and correlations of purpose. Both set out on a long journey and have a specific destination whether sacred or secular. The Pilgrim’s Refugio aims to combine these two groups of people, taking the sense of discovery and the meandering aspect of a pilgrimage, applying this to the tourist and the modern day visitor centre to enable the user to slow down and step away from his or her fast paced lifestyle.

By applying the exploration of the Greek mythological journey, ‘the Odyssey’, as well as the theories of the heroic prose, and the precedents of ‘The Way of St James’, Santiago de Compostela, to the narrative of the proposal, both pilgrims and visitors experience the physical and spiritual rejuvenation and the ideas of refuge and prospect, sought after long travel.

Carving through the ramparts of the ancient hill fort of Old Sarum and re-using the excavated chalks in the construction of the building, a new contour within the ramparts is formed that re-emphasises the importance of Old Sarum throughout the veins and arteries, the ancient walkways and ley lines, in mythologically profound Wiltshire. These newly carved contours harness the natural thermal mass of the earth, whilst the refugio aims to be almost fully self-sustainable, employing energy from the sun, water from the sky and the land, and the main focal point within the centre of the contours, the hearth, bringing pilgrims and visitors together by being the sole provider of food and heat throughout the form.

Zara Ashby


Mr Martin Gledhill
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