Stephen Brown is graduating stage 3 at the Mackintosh School of Architecture. This exhibit pulls the key representations from a year-long project that addresses sustainability and contextual engagement through the design of a concert hall and a retreat centre that accommodates performers. The proposal is situated in the Trossachs National Park on a narrow strip of land that runs from the town of Balloch to the south shore of Loch Lomond.
The project engages the themes of energy, landscape, and culture, as an exercise in rethinking and expanding ideas around sustainability. The proposal’s environmental strategy goes beyond the sourcing of local and renewable materials, to consider wider criteria including low energy/passive design, prefabricated construction, and longevity in the buildings’ relevance to the cultural context of the locale. In this sense, aesthetics, adaptability and intuitiveness are paramount to the designs, ensuring their sensitivity to their natural surroundings and their capacity to serve the requirements of their users and the wider local community.
A key design challenge was integrating sustainability into the structural fabric of the two buildings. The exhibit is presented in such a way to show how this is achieved through the use of simple volumetric forms, around which hinge modular elements to make up the secondary structure. This approach seeks to establish an equilibrium in spatial arrangement that is both efficient of space and materials, whist being optimal to the scale and movement of the human body.