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

Harriet Walton

harrietwalton@btinternet.com

Seamus Heaney’s poem Bog Queen is taken as precedent as the founding point of the project. The poem explores the
body’s slow witness to the violent intrusion of the weather and changing landscape, trapped in passive observation.
In relation to this, P.V. Globb’s Bog People, provides the second thread of research, which highlights the unique
conditions of peat to preserve organic matter and transcends the normal conditions of decay, bringing the body out
of time.

The final source of research is highlighted through the work of the classical British composer Peter Maxwell
Davies. Many of his scores written during the years that he lived on the island of Hoy in Orkney, providing a unique
insight into the acoustics of the landscape. The music transcends time, distorting it, making it precocious.

 

These three sources help set up the key area of research, to explore an architecture which focuses on sets of
processes and events, fixing the body against the landscape.

Hoy, the second largest island in Orkney, contains by far the largest reserves of peat. Its distinctive climate and
topography, even within the context of Orkney, provides a unique landscape through which to walk and explore. The
sub-function of the scheme is provided though the excavation of the peat bogs, cutting into the landscape to form
a refuge for walkers on the island. The seasonal function of the building is a music festival, in which the structure is
excavated from the subterranean peat chambers and assembled above the cuts.

The seasonal awakening of the
structure is carried out by the walkers and island residents during the summer to form the music chamber, then in
autumn the structure is disassembled and repacked into the main chamber, preserved for another year in the peat.
The series of chambers offering refuge, heat, burial and music, set up a series of processes and events bound by
seasonal durations.