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Holy Island Buddhist Retreat Centre, Scotland

Holy Island

Tony Fretton & Juan Salgado, 1993 Competition

When we imposed the typology of the retreat centres over the existing landscape and allowed it to be distorted, unexpected forms appeared. The rational logic of the plan is no longer apparent in the physicality of the object that results from the blending.
Gravity affects the typology of the cloister. The spaces are man­made in a natural manner, the linearity of the corridor, distorted by the landscape, belongs to a different perceptual order.

The action of walking up to the rooms and the visual awareness of the ceiling and the
sky differs from the action of walking down to the collective spaces, the stone floor and the garden courtyard become the main elements in the perception of the space.

In the Interdenominational Centre an oval shaped drystone wall separates the natural landscape from the man­made garden.
The reception room is reminiscent of a country house, with a number of undifferentiateddoors leading to the collective spaces for sitting, dinning and lecture room.
This assembly of spaces opens into a larger, more indeterminate volume where objectsbecome apparent.
One finds the two stone faced volumes of the communal bathrooms.
On one side and arranged on two levels are the hotel rooms, the upper floor reached by
staircases which become part of the internal landscape of objects. The cantilevered accesscorridor to the upper level is balanced by the external balconies, where groups of 4 or 5
rooms are joined into a single balcony that lets group of visitors share the views of the sea.

The profile of the land is reflected in the geometry of the roof which is subtly different in
every room, making one aware of the larger and collective enclosure.
The side of the building that faces the island appears as solid that compresses a band of glass against the ground.
The view of the land is framed horizontally, one can perceive glimpses of the mountain and the forest.

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