Nathan A. E. A. Back-Chamness
The project began with the process of translation between collage and drawing.
Collage was used as the act of design, whereby intuitive judgement made new forms from existing chance material. This allowed the project to work to an undefined criteria. Alongside more traditional processes, the use of chance and play gave room for the unexpected.
In dialogue with this intuitive process, drawing was used as a slower meditative response. These drawings refi ned the
intuitive process into architectural spaces, seeking order from the intangible qualities of the collage. By transitioning
between these two distinct processes both openness and constraint were accounted for.
The Brough of Deerness, located off the mainland of Orkney, has a history of inhabitation and settlement. On its
surface sits the ruins of a Pictish settlement centred on a Norse monastery. Sandstone flags are surrounded by water
on three sides, accessed by descending the cliff of the mainland and crossing loose rocks with sea on both sides. The
Brough of Deerness reads as both an island and the furthest extent of the mainland reaching into the sea.
The communal act of building over long periods, as in the construction of Neolithic monuments, allows for multiple
generations to be in continual dialogue with the design, resulting in constant translations of the meaning of the space.
The island aims never to be finished but to reconnect the people of Orkney to their stone architectural heritage. Through the excavation and repositioning of the island stone, the architecture is imagined as an ongoing process of building and rebuilding, containing the same underlying act of translation as was explored in moving between collage and drawing.