An Orcadian Caravanserai by Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment graduate Dale Leith represents a thoughtful sensitive and considered architectural project set in the landscape and environment of Orkney.

Dale developed his Architectural project based on the concept of a Stenness Archaeology Education and Research Centre which would be built on Orkney.

This student project was developed as a building built upon the land with a primary purpose of researching and discussing the Orkney Landscape and in particular its often hidden precious heritage. Dale receiving an RGU Purchase Award for his work.

Lets hear more about the project from Dale.

Driven by the idea of authenticity and adopting the theme of ‘caravanserai’s’, found along the Middle Eastern silk trails, I tried to emulate a romanticised notion that these buildings are a great place for cultural exchange within the intervention at Stenness Prehistory and Archaeology is one of the largest industries on the island and a main attraction for the visitors to come and see.

Boasting some of the oldest history in Europe, Orkney is still a hive of archaeological investigation, with the largest dig in the world in recent times being uncovered in 2008. At Stenness the intervention aimed to design a research centre that could house the archaeologists and dig workers as well as their findings over the busy periods in the summer. Then in the winter a research and documentation facility for the recording of these findings. This centre is trying to becoming an institution for professionals from across Europe and the archaeological community. Secondly, the centre would aim to educate and bring the local residents together with visitors. Where they could exchange tales and culture, chat, eat and learn together.

There are thousands of years of Neolithic history on Orkney. There scars mark the landscape everywhere you go. It was in this layering of history that inspiration towards how the building can offer an experience. There is always an affinity with the ground and archaeology. The deeper you dig down, the further you peel back the years of history. It was notion of cutting or clearing the layers of the ground that building would find its unique experience, form and soul. A cultivating relationship between ground levels resonates with a user, feeling history and time slowly encompass their walk through the walls of the trench.

Entering the building you are at the highest level of the trench. Venturing down through the trench, a subtly lowering of the floors into the exhibition areas and research spaces. These deepest space are a metaphor for the time you are standing in and as you gain knowledge of the surroundings above towards a more modern time you ascend back into the landscape.

Dale Leith 2019

Dale was one of many students from the Scott Sutherland School who worked on the amazing Drawn North Project which focussed on the conceptual redevelopment of Aberdeen Beachfront and of various projects in Orkney. To find out more about the graduates Orkney projects follow this link.

@artukdotorg @RGULibrary @RGU @UniMuseumsScot @MuseumsGalScot #MuseumAtHome #OnlineArtExchange #LandscapeArchitecture

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