January 10, 2020

C5: Cultural Context Synopsis 


‘Bungalow Bliss’ Jack Fitzsimon’s housing catalogue influenced the ‘one-off house’ culture and altered the landscape of rural Ireland. An exploration of this movement’s impact on the understanding and portrayal of the rural Irish vernacular will be conducted in the form of a literature review and case study analysis.


October 3, 2019

Completed 1:200 site model of Dens Road Makers. The yellow/orange/red/brown colour to the proposals reflects and nods to the local sandstone in which Dundee is built on.


September 20, 2019

an architectural study trip to America and Canada. 

San Francisco - involved visits to Alcatraz and the golden gate bridge. Interesting visit to the De Young Museum designed by Herzog De Meuron with an permanent skyspace installation by James Turrell. across the road was the California Academy of Sciences designed by Renzo Piano. 

Portland - A visit to the beautiful Japanese Gardens designed my Kengo Kuma was in Portland. The Japanese Garden's new Cultural Village is a modest, human-scaled set of buildings arranged around a courtyard plaza, whose fourth side is the existing, untouched gardens from the 1960s.

The project is a village positioned along a journey from the city to the top of the hill, a form of modern monzenmachi wherein the pilgrimage pays homage to the spirit of nature.

Seattle -   A visit to the iconic Space Needle which is an observation tower in Seattle. It is a city landmark built in the 1960's 


August 10, 2019

Sketching to explore various options and eliminating design routes that don't work. sketching helps to promote fluidity in designing and removing restrictions.


July 14, 2019

The process of model making to help explore massing, scale and context of design proposals. the process of building the immediate site context helps understanding the existing building topology , the heights of buildings and the local vernacular.


June 19, 2019

A visit to the Scott Sutherland School end of year show to see the standard of Part 2 studio projects.


April 21, 2019

A site visit was made to the proposed site chosen for RIBA Studio project D4. the chosen site is located in Dundee, Scotland, abutting Dens road-a deprived area of Dundee. the site contains a number of dilapidated sandstone buildings which collectively once formed a Jute Mill, paper mill and latterly a public market. A large brick chimney still remains on site forming an accidental landmark. 

Surrounding the site are a variety of buildings adding differing masses to the Dundee skyline. to the west of the site are 3/4 storey tenements, to the south 2 storey housing and to the east a 4 storey student village. 

A quick visit was made to the Dundee V&A designed by Kengo Kuma creating Scotland's first design museum. Associates. research was done to understand the gaming and comic book industries in Dundee to form a basis for the project brief.


October 20, 2018

James Turrell was displaying his first art installation in Berlin at the Libeskind Museum 'James Turrell Aural'.  I was fortunate enough to able to experience this installation. James Turrell changes the human perspective on light.

James Turell demands time from his visitors. Our eyes must first adjust before the light’s effect fully unfolds.

Suddenly, we perceive the slightest stimuli and changes. This leads to dreamlike experiences reminiscent of thick fog, expanses of snow, or the dark of night.

Light is a central symbol in Judaism linking the beginning and end of creation. James Turrell’s works can be seen as one of the most spectacular artistic interpretations of the creation of light.


October 20, 2018

As an office we went on an architectural trip to Berlin to visit various architectural projects such as the Museum of Architectural Drawings, the Reistag by Foster + Partners, Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind, Jewish Memorial, social housing and a number of David Chipperfield projects.

The Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind was of particular interest with Libeskind creating experience spaces that challenged the users emotions and allow contemplation. It didn't feel like a typical museum spaces with very few items on display. The dark tunnel like spaces, sharp corners and zigzag plan expresses the holocaust.  Libeskind changed his mind after reading an account from a holocaust survivor, who recalled a sliver of light shining through the grilles of a cattle car used to transport her to a concentration camp, and decided to add lightwells


October 1, 2018

3D printing models of the proposed buildings for the Eardley Contemporary Art Gallery. 

Casting the 3Dprinted models into a 2x part silicone mixture to create the formwork .

Mixing concrete with colour pigmentation to alter the concrete colour is then poured in the silicone mould and set over night. this was a trial and error experiment to get the right colour and reduce air bubbles in the finished concrete cast. Interesting form of media experimentation.


September 26, 2018

Great experience and very informative tour of the Aberdeen Treasure Hub where the Aberdeen Art Gallery holds its artwork while renovations are being undertaken. 

The guide explained the gas suppression system in place, the HVAC system and automatic thermostats to maintain the relative humidity of the archive and storage maintaining the integrity of the artwork in storage. It was also interesting to see the mechanisms that hold the artwork in storage. 

On request I was able to view a few of Joan Eardley's Artworks that the Aberdeen Art Gallery had in there collection. unfortunately I was not allowed to photograph them but the artworks that were available for viewing were:

Brother and Sister 1955

Cornfield at Nightfall 1952

High Tide, a Winter Afternoon 1961


July 20, 2018

experimenting with concrete to create a texture for the interior of the art gallery relating it back to the local materials and textures found in Stonehaven. 

pigmentation of the concrete to a red/pink colour reflecting the local sandstone. the board on board texture gives a rough texture like drift wood or the rough textures apparent in Joan Eardley's painting. 

Experimentation with a possible floor finish to the gallery utilising the local pebbles of Stonehaven, embedding them in concrete and finishing the top with a clear expoxy resin flush appearance. the pebbles link the building back to the natural landscape. 


July 14, 2018

After having a meal at the Creel Inn in Catterline I discovered an original painting from Joan Eardley that was gift to the restaurant.

Typical of Joan Eardley's paintings of Catterline she painted the drying salmon fishing nets hung up by the local fishermen. The fishing net pattern is something bbeautiful in its structure and may form a basis for the art gallery structure. 


July 8, 2018

research and exploration of local materials and texture that appear and are common place around the site and The town of Stonehaven. the red/pink/brown sandstone is the local natural stone used in its historical buildings with rooflines clad in natural slate. the pebbled beach is unique to Stonehaven with beautiful colours coming through on observation.


July 6, 2018

I made an architectural visit to the highly anticipated Macallan Distillery and Visitor Centre.

The building only opened a month previously in June this year. The undulating greenroof is cut in the the Speyside hil taking in the unobstructed views of the  the views of the  in front. The building sits beautifully into the vast surrounding fields and hills. The greenroof changes with the season and the colour blends in with its environment becoming an natural extension of the landscape. The roof is a complex grid shell structure of glue timber beams which are exposed internally sharing the story of how it was put together. 

This piece of architecture is a beautiful example of a building in context.


May 7, 2018

“Joan Eardley was essentially an artist who drew inspiration from subjects in the open air, not in the studio.”

drawing inspiration from how Eardley worked, I wanted to create an experience where visitors felt the things that she felt when she was painting.

“Eardley commuted backwards and forwards between Glasgow and Catterline and a phone call from a neighbour at Catterline warning of approaching storms would send Eardley racing north again.”

She was known for literally painting in the eye of the storm or during a calm summer day. My initial design thoughts was to create a space that focused the user/visitor on the weather possibly by the way of creating an indoor/outdoor space. having a pronounced opening that drew the eye towards it like you would with a painting. This would allow the user/visitor to experience the elements whether it be rain, wind, snow, sun, warmth or cold, as Eardley did when she painted.


May 3, 2018

After analysing the site at Stonehaven, researching and visiting a number of precedent that related  to an art gallery or the site in some way I began sketching thinking about massing, scale. Also thinking about how light can be manipulated and controlled when entering a space.


May 5, 2018

An architectural visit to the Titanic Belfast, one of Europe’s largest urban waterfront regeneration schemes which is turning a 185-acre site on the banks of Belfast’s River Lagan into a new mixed use maritime quarter with a mile of water frontage.

Titanic Belfast has and interactive galleries that explore the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Titanic, as well as the City and people which made her. It is the world’s largest Titanic exhibition. The building will also house temporary exhibits, a 1,000-seat banqueting suite, education and community facilities, catering and retail space and a basement car park.

Visitors will learn about the  Ireland’s industrial and maritime heritage.

Supported by the Northern Ireland Executive, Titanic Belfast is a unique public / private partnership funded by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour and Titanic Quarter Ltd. It is operated by Titanic Belfast Ltd and will be owned by the Titanic Foundation Ltd.



May 4, 2018

The proposal for the new visitor facilities can be understood as two folds into the landscape. One folds upwards revealing the building and the second folds down to form the carpark and shield it from view of the approach road and coastal path. Between the two folds, a ramp leads to the coastal ridgeline which is restored at this location.

The visitor’s centre at the Giant’s Causeway is experienced as an event along the route to the Causeway and the coastline. It is a carefully sculpted intervention into this landscape which is both visible and invisible, invisible from the cliffside yet recognisable from the land side.


May 2, 2018

A quick visit to the furniture workshops designed by O'Donnnell + Tuomey Architects for the GMIT furniture college. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed into the workshops themselves as students were working. 

The way the architecture sits within its surrounding context is interesting. From a distance the form of the building curves down and follows its challenging sloping site, appearing as a mountain blending into its natural landscape with a backdrop of the Connemara mountains. The timber cladding is locally sourced from Irish Green Oak and weathers naturally as would the tree trunks in the surrounding forests. Registering the passage of time.

When designing the art gallery it should be noted that  research should go into the surrounding context, architecture and the materials used in its built environment. 


May 1, 2018

The Model in Sligo is home to The Niland Collection-one of Ireland's leading contemporary arts centres. The orginal building was constructed in 1862 as a Model School. The building was extended by McCullough Mulvin Architects in 2000 and again in 2010 by Sheridan Woods Architects. The building now boasts a restaurant and coffee dock, a bookshop, a wonderful gallery circuit, a purpose built performance space, and a suite of impressive artist studios on the top floor with enviable views of Sligo town and County.

The front of the Model appears unassuming and untouched from the date is was constructed. As you peer to the west elevation a glimpse of contemporary architecture is revealed  by way of simple forms and a limited palette of materials such timber and zinc. The rear of the building completed transformed and clearly distinguishes itself from old and new. The protruding linear boxes create an unashamedly contemporary mass and scale.

The interior of the building exposes the existing granite and limestone walls of the existing building and shows its connection to new with shuttered concrete walls and timber clad doors. 

The main gallery space on the first floor designed by McCullough Mulvin Architects creates space of really drama. the natural light seeps through the shutters providing indirect sunlight to the space. Track lighting focused towards the artwork reminds you of what there is to admire. 

The way both architects designed forms and used materials in a contemporary way but still respecting the scale and design of the existing building is something to learn from. A simple and limited palette of materials creates a monolithic form. All these points can be taken into consideration when designing the art gallery for Joan Eardley's artwork. 


April 15, 2018

using the physical model and a desk lamp to explore light and shade taking note of the areas and buildings that create overshadowing and where sun/natural daylight is most dominiant.


April 8, 2018

after purchasing a 3D printer I printed out the proposed site for my D3 project to analysis shadow/light, massing/scale and the local vernacular of the site and surrounding context. having a physical model helps understand various features and challenges when analysing a site.


March 25, 2018

Catterline was where Joan Eardley resided during the final chapter of her career and life. It was important to visit the place where she found her inspiration and passion for painting. 

Catterline is a small isolated fishing village with wild and rugged cliffs. The coastguard houses which Joan Eardley lived, surround the steep cliffs leading down to Catterlines harbour. Eardley painted on the pier during stormy weather embracing the elements and its vastness. 


March 25, 2018

Making a visit to the Dundee Contemporary Arts - designed by Richard Murphy Architects, to analyse and experience a contemporary art gallery.

The intention is to learn from, and critically analysis this piece of architecture for designing proposed art gallery for my D3: Final Design Project at Oxford Brookes University. 

Richard Murphy is known for his complex architecture, exposing structure and manipulating natural light with the use of shutter systems. 

From the visit it was evident that the majority of natural light entered the building via slim high level window or rooflights.  there was a select few vertical windows strategically placed to take advantage of the views towards the Tay Estuary. 

The rooflights had shutters that blocked natural light depending on the exhibition on display, adapting to its users. One gallery space would have the shutters open with fantastic quality of natural light indirectly lighting the room and its contents. A neighbouring gallery space had the shutters closed blocking any natural light as the space was being used to display cinematography which requires little or no light.

Richard Murphy celebrated the structure of the architecture by exposing it. Showing off every nut and bolt telling the story of how is was put together. 


March 18, 2018

My chosen site for a proposed Art Gallery to host the artwork of Joan Eardley is located in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. Stonehaven is historically a fishing town in the North East of Scotland.

Eardley was exhibiting her artwork in the Gaumount Cinema in Aberdeen City and visited a friend in Stonehaven afterwards. It was here that lead Joan Eardley to Catterline which is just south of Stonehaven. 

The site backs onto the beach and North Sea beyond. The views towards the wild sea relates back to the type of landscapes that Joan Eardley painted in Catterline. 

Joan Eardley
Summer Fields, 1961
The Wave, 1961
Catterline in Winter, 1963
Drying Salmon Nets, 1956
Three Children at a Tenement Window, 1961


March 11, 2018

For this years ongoing University project I have chosen to design an art gallery which will be focused on an artist with a sufficient standing of works.

Based on this chose Joan Eardley, an artist that was highly acclaimed in Britain prior to her untimely death. Joan had three distinct phases in her life. Her time as a student in Glasgow School of art, focusing on Glasgow's poor children in the slums of  Townhead. The final chapter of Joan Eardley's life was spent in Catterline painting the wild landscapes of the North East of Scotland.

I want to focus on Joan Eardley's time in Catterline.