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Euan Hardie wins Wanderer's Wonder competition with shelters that sit lightly in the Scottish landscape

Words:
Isabelle Priest

The Reiach & Hall architectural assistant’s proposal for two demountable galvanized steel and timber shelters that give new life to the landscape won over the judges with its understanding of place

The Stravaiger consists of a simple bench enclosed by protective metal planes.
The Stravaiger consists of a simple bench enclosed by protective metal planes.

The Stravaiger and the Bodach

Euan Hardie

Part II architectural assistant, Reiach & Hall Architects

The Scots have a word ‘stravaig’ that roughly translates as ‘to wander aimlessly’. Euan Hardie’s winning proposal consists of two objects, inspired by this word that sums up an existential idea about life as well as an idea about adventure in the landscape of a wild country.

The first part of the proposal is the Stravaiger, a place to rest weary legs and enjoy the view for a momentary pause. Designed as a protective cupped hand, the structure consists of a series of metal planes enclosing a simple stationary bench.

The second part is the Bodach – or ‘old man’ – and comprises an architectural hat that can be built over and around abandoned houses to make a shelter for an overnight stay or refuge from the elements. Many of Scotland’s most beautiful places visited by hillwalkers have these type of ruins, and are reminders of a different way of life before the Clearances. The Bodach gives them new life in a familiar way, giving them a wrinkly roof with a lightweight structure.

Both proposals are similar in tectonics. Each uses a timber frame, made from standard-sized timbers, with simple galvanized steel fixings and footings, and a skin of corrugated galvanized steel sheets. They touch the landscape lightly and could be completely demountable, reusable or recyclable.

  • The Bodach comprises an architectural hat to be built over abandoned houses.
    The Bodach comprises an architectural hat to be built over abandoned houses.
  • The galvanized steel and timber construction of the Stravaiger.
    The galvanized steel and timber construction of the Stravaiger.
  • The galvanized steel and timber construction of the Bodach.
    The galvanized steel and timber construction of the Bodach.
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Although there were some concerns about the balance of timber to galvanized steel among the judges, this proposal was a standout winner that was difficult to beat.

‘This entry spoke to a sense of place and an understanding of place,’ said judge Jonathan Hagos. ‘It has a lightness that is appropriate for the context. It reminds me of mnemonic devices – when you are in one place you are reminded of the other, creating a journey architecturally.’

Garreth McMahon agreed: ‘I loved all the gestures the entrant is trying to put through. With both parts, the corrugated galvanized material is forming a roof in the landscape that would be visible from about four to five miles away, playing an intrinsic part in the overall idea.’ The judges felt that it provided the balance between opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, while being sustainable through standardized elements that can re-enter a circular economy, and being culturally sensitive and relevant.

‘The relationship between the timber and the galvanised material is also really clear and purposeful,’ explained Isabelle Priest. Overall, the judges found the the dual proposal to be well resolved, experimental in testing different scenarios and the idea that the objects could become a family of interventions displaced across the Scottish landscape enjoyable.

 

To view the winners, commended and shortlisted projects click here. RIBAJ Wanderers Wonder competition is produced in association with The Galvanizers Association

 

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