Edzell Castle, Angus

International competition

      Built in the 1500s, Edzell Castle stood as the main seat of the noble family Lindsay. During the course of the 16th century, the residence was considerably altered and expanded, reflecting the changing architectural aspirations of the family. Several programmes of building added around the original tower house: a range of service buildings to the southern edge of the original courtyard enclosure, and latterly a suite of withdrawing rooms and grand hall to the north and west. The expansion of the estate culminated with the realisation of a great walled renaissance garden, completed in 1604, south of the original settlement. Its years as a noble residence, however, would only survive another century, when, sold in an attempt to clear family debt, the castle would undergo a course of terminal decline, deteriorating into the evocative ruin that stands today.

The proposal, a restoration and conversion, seeks to reinterpret the existing diagram, imbuing the site with a renewed and reinvented relevance, whilst remaining reverential to the historic fabric of the site. The proposal aims to reinvent the site with a program of artist residencies and space for craft and the production of art within the rarefied atmosphere of the castle grounds. Providing working space for artists and artisans within the residency scheme, the workshops, configured within the footprint once occupied by the service range on the southern edge of the courtyard, are conceived as robust and adaptable spaces for the use by a variety of trades; from potters to gardeners. Sited within the north range, the residence offers accommodation comprised of bedrooms at the ground level with a living and dining space above. The tower house, the most historic and intact portion of the castle, has been left untouched in its current state, allowing it to continue to serve as a landmark building that may operate as the setting for exhibitions held by the artists in residence.

Constructed of red pigmented concrete, the newly constructed elements seek a synthesis and continuity with the red sandstone rubble, repairing the fragmented ruin and re-establishing historic datum and building lines. In form, it is recessive and evocative of vernacular castle construction - a simplicity of detail and sheerness of wall surface. Internally, a soft palette of timber and natural plasters provide comfort against the hardness of the bare stone and untreated concrete.