Nightwalking the Highlands

The project explores our relationship to the night and landscapes of darkness. How might we see more when we see less? Could the night reveal more than conceal?

The project is inspired by two contrasting Nightwalks and proposes a third. The Will O’ The Wisp is a Scottish folktale which describes a mysterious light that appears at night over marshy ground, thought to be a rare weather phenomenon, or elemental spirits which lead travellers off the path. The Wisp lies between fiction and non-fiction, raising questions of how we fill the perceptual gaps in darkness. The project also learns from Hugh Munro’s expeditions to chart all of the highest peaks in Scotland. To go unseen, Munro ventured into the vast landscape at night, seeing the mountains with only a lamp – shifting his mode of perception from the distant to the near. The project interrogates the spatial realm between the Wisp and Munro’s expeditions; between the seen but not known and the known but not seen.

The design proposes a Nightwalking infrastructure of bothies, which illuminate specific fragments of the landscape. The architecture focuses our perception on small fragments that could be over-looked in the light of day, bringing them to the spatial foreground. The project explores how a more ecological way of seeing could be derived from the dark.

The Non-Viewpoint

The bothy encourages the downwards observation of the small-scale by illuminating the moment of interaction with the landscape. Sensitively bridging a stream, the second bothy cascades water through its interior; the moment of collecting water from a stream is celebrated.

Illuminating Landscape Fragments

Experimenting with the digital illumination of 3D scanned fragments. Darkness makes certain details stand out that may have otherwise been overlooked. This enables the viewer to see more: focusing on specific parts, rather than the landscape as a whole.

The Interior Nightwalk

The Nightwalk continues inside the bothies, which create darkness even in the day. Dark matte rock walls prevent light from leaking out, except at specifically designed apertures where a lens focuses a projected light onto the landscape.

Reflective Armature

Reflective armature guides walkers through spaces, allowing its form to be understood without emitting light. Light is drawn in from outside using moonlight shutters. The interior becomes the backstage to the landscape.

Light Projection

Elements of the architecture appear and disappear in the landscape as day transitions into night. Reflective shutters open, focusing moonlight inside – and allowing programmatic light to project outwards.

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