Through the Ruins They are Forged
Exploring themes of place attachment and biophilia in stigmatised environments, this project explores how communities can reimagine their relationship with such places through landscape led therapy.
Finding its genesis in place attachment theory, this project aims to encourage stewardship towards the Ardeer peninsula, the former site of Nobel’s dynamite factory in Ayreshire. Since the factory’s closure, the landscape has become the focus of great hostility and stigmatisation as it symbolises the decline of the local economy. This project approaches this stigmatisation by exploring the experiences of the local community through memory mapping, using this to build a framework which uses these negative emotions to inform positive reattachment and integration with the landscape.
This idea is explored further in ‘The Unforgetting’ - a landscape led therapy programme which encourages participants to overcome their prejudice towards the landscape through a four stage programme. The focus on memories is not only relevant to place attachment, rather it is essential in understanding and breaking the patterns of neglect within the relationship between the community and the peninsula. One way to do this is to reinforce a sense of understanding and reciprocity within the relationship, which is portrayed in this project as the creation of an empathetic landscape. The selected work highlights some of the key elements of the project which uses both theoretical and physical design interventions to create empathy within the landscape. This is done mainly through the flooding of the peninsula, using industrial ruins as vessels in which water is held, moved, meandered, and released.