346 / Felix Wilson: Tower III

Felix Wilson from Tower III; “UG2 Student at ESALA, Edinburgh. Currently seeing Architecture as a tool for curating, sculpting and developing the world we all experience.”


University: University of Edinburgh - Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA)

Professor(s): From UG 1 - Laura Harty, Clive Albert, Rachael Scott

Instagram Username: @flick_wilson


Name of Project: Tower III

Project Description: Loch of Skene, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. A proposal to re-engage the public with a site of natural beauty. The inspiration for the project came from summer work at Loch of Skene, the site of the proposal and having a direct experience of what infrastructure the area lacked. The name comes from the fact it is 3 units based on the classical proportion stacked on top of each other, the roman numerals and ode to antiquity. For an area of such rich biodiversity which supports a vast range of flora and fauna Loch of Skene has little status, let alone public facilities. This project, TOWER III attempts to fill this void and proposes the re-use of classically inspired ruins to create a lookout tower as a way for the public to engage with the loch and its unique ecosystem.

Situation: Lowland freshwater loch, 1.4sq km, 1.8m deep Classified as: Special Protection Area, Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI), Ramsar Site for Wildlife Conservation Important breeding site for birds supporting flora and fauna Created in 18th c. dammed for tweed mill, used for estate activities and limited recreation. Under 40 minutes drive from Aberdeen city centre, close to other population centres of Westhill, Banchory, Inverurie, Alford. Limited access with current Estate configuration, slightly ‘unknown’ to public.

License to Reinterpret - Faux Classical Folly, has had many uses, why not another in the contemporary. - The Doric columns have been re-purposed three times, hence their is an argument for a 3rd adaptation. - Replaced by two dominant tower house on the far side of the loch, a tower would hence be a suitable gesture, as well as being a suitable typology for bird hide.

Programme Requirements Arrival - calming, subtle, quiet Discovery - ascent, permeable, cover Observation - view, altitude, hierarchy Departure - descent, calming, memorable Tower III would act as gateway for public access of the Loch of Skene whilst minimizing impact on the current ‘Temple’ and surrounding ecosystem. The spaces it creates provide a place for the public to observe birds such as osprey, swift and swan. The cladding hints at the classical nature of the building whilst the destination, the viewing platform, has a commanding view from 16m above the water. Access through the forest reveals the tower at the last moment, meaning visitors have little impact on nesting birds whilst making the tower feel like an isolated outpost on the threshold between forest and water.