©2019 by UNIT 17, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

Eleni Efstathia Eforakopoulou

n.eforakop@gmail.com

The Orkney islands are an archipelago which has undergone a number of different transformations, happening across a number of different timelines. My project investigates the deep history of Orkney, reconstructing the forces which
have shaped its unique landscapes, revealing snapshots of past and future geologies.

The romantic and picturesque sceneries that we see today are not static, but rather the result of a very slow motion
car crash. The project has interrogated this long and violent choreography: through redrawing the map of Orkney at
the time of the first domestication when the sea levels were 30 meters lower, to recreating the ensuing coastal erosion
which stemmed from the rising seas, it has sought to re-imagine the landscape as one which is in a perpetual state
of change.

The predominant focus of these inquiries has been to understand the physical rocks which constitutes the
geological makeup of Orkney. Through careful analysis of the three major formations on Orkney (Rousay Flagstone,
Stromness Flagstone and igneous rock) the project identified the moments of collision between the sedimentary and igneous strata.

The proposal is a one hundred meter long cut through the landscape at the point where the granite, flagstone and sea all converge. In the same way that William Smith was first able to identify stratigraphy through the cutting of the Somerset canal, the project seeks to cut through the landscape of Orkney in order to read the the strata of the
bedrock. Within the cut are a series of courtyards, with each one exposing the cut rock to a different climatic condition
(tide, wind, salt, frost) celebrating the forces which have eroded and carved the islands over the past two billion years. 

Around the courtyards are inhabitable spaces - hewn from the rock - which face out onto the courtyard. The
procession through the building not only takes the visitor from the north entrance towards the point where the cut
meets the surf, but it also goes back in time ending at the point with the earliest rocks. The proposals celebrate the
processes which have shaped the islands history, but they also imagine the building as part of that timeline, drawing
through the building’s own erasure and future sedimentation caused by rising sea levels.