Year 3 Part 1 Architecture 2018


University: RIBA Studio Oxford 

Course: Part 1 Architecture 2018 

Pass with Distinction 

Design Brief: Joan Eardley is one of Scotland’s most renowned painters of the twentieth century. She is recognised as reminding Scots of lost tenement communities and the wild beauty of the landscape. Eardley’s paintings of Catterline portray the vast and isolated scenery typical of the area. Yet, a sense of intimacy remains with Eardley’s focus on darker hues and more muted tones creating a melancholic yet powerful atmosphere.


The project brief is to design an Art Gallery which will display the artworks of Joan Eardley. The Eardley Contemporary will celebrate the stages of Eardley’s life as told through her art; her travels and particularly her later years in Catterline; her immersive coastline canvas. The site additionally accommodates temporary exhibition spaces, studios for artists in residence and a café with views of the sea.


The proposed site is located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in the town of Stonehaven which is historically known for fishing and is the closest town to the village of Catterline. Stonehaven is located on the north east coastline; the same coastline that Eardley drew inspiration from and painted her most notable works. The town centre of Stonehaven appears disconnected from the coastline and sea views as there is no obvious or direct access route, building lines block this connection. The location of the proposed site has the opportunity to respond to this social aspect. The design encompasses the coastal setting as a primary asset by cutting through the site enabling uninterrupted views of the sea and inviting user interaction with the architectural experience.


Joan Eardley often painted the salmon fishing nets that fishermen would hang out to dry along the coastline. The design seeks to provide a relationship between the artist and the architecture through the lattice pattern found in fishing nets and lobster creels. This pattern is present in the structure and surface of the art gallery offering a reflection of the local context and the artist. The architecture is composed of traditional vernacular forms utilising contrasting contemporary materials which relate to the slate roofs and sandstone walls indigenous to Stonehaven. The Eardley Contemporary explores the interrelationship between art and architecture responding to the natural coastal and built environment through considered design.

Location: Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland