This project explores the power of language – strong style, single words – to shape our sense of place.
This project explores the power of language – strong style, single words – to shape our sense of place. It is a word hoard of the astonishing lexis for landscape that exists in relation to the rivers, hedgerows, lochs, bogs, fields and edge lands uneasily known as the Isle of Lewis. The remarkable referential exactitude of a glossary uncovered by locals in a Counter Desecration Phrasebook, and the poetry of its terms, are adopted and animated through an architecture that is born out of a language deeply embedded within the landscape.
Domestic typologies and vernacular architecture are replaced by a lexicon of architectural devices that allow the house for animators to occupy and take advantage of the wet bog landscape, enabling it to shift, slip and excavate the bog as it retreats. A mechanical landscape is created of winches, pulleys and counterweights mimicking the architectural language of the Moor, found within the Counter Desecration Phrasebook. An architectural language of impermanence, loose-fit structures and permeable enclosures compliment and contribute to the nature of the fluid landscape, whilst allowing birds to nest within the house. The project then, unfolds as a study of a landmass many see as having nothing in it – the peatlands of The Brindled Moor on Lewis. A site, like so many of the empty places in the Highlands and Islands, under threat of becoming unseen, unheard, mute – which is to say, inanimate – in the planning of its future.