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SOM Foundation UK Award

Augmented Reverberation

Part 1 Project 2010
William Gowland
University of Nottingham | UK
As our environment, culture and economy continues to become increasingly transient, the British Isles struggles to produce it’s own industry. The Isle of Sheppey, which owes its name to the Saxons ‘Sceapige’, meaning Isle of Sheep, hosts an isolated marshy landscape, where the atmosphere is quiet and haunting. Scarred by the intermittent presence of heavy industry, rivers, ditches and dereliction, it is here, away from the distractions of our visually dominated western culture that the mind is allowed to wonder and our senses that are constantly suppressed begin to awaken. On Rushenden, Marsh, Augmented Reverberation seeks to integrate a poetic landscape of light industry through the revival of a gut string industry that was once a thriving British venture. Bespoke natural strings are produced from sheep intestines for various instruments including the violin. Building, landscape and instrument are intertwined to create functional pavilions on the marsh that form aeolian harps, (instruments played by the wind). The complex arrangement of accommodation, abattoir, workshops, studios and performance spaces create an interesting and challenging juxtaposition between the roughness of industry and the delicacy of art. Celebrating it’s connection and fragile relationship with the landscape through seasonal music festivals and events.
William Gowland

The Transient Tectonics Studio explores the duality of the physical/scientific and the emotional/cultural layers of experimental architecture in a natural environment of continuous change, cycles and scales.
We inquire about the possibilities within the tectonic layer of the Earth, its cultural inscriptions, productive opportunities and sensory stimulations.
The project “Augmented Reverberation” reintroduces the former local craft of string making while opening a Place of Production to associated interests for seasonal participation, e.g. music festivals, individual relaxation, experience of accidental sounds (Aeolian harps) or as a place of art production.
The development of Will’s conceptual programming was clarified through his 3-day stay with a Sheppard and his personal interest in composing music.
The project theme interprets the physicality, appearance and image of “landscape”, from the industrial unloved one found around the Isle of Sheppey into a new sensual place, accepting, augmenting and extending the reading of this place while widening our understanding of a pleasurable landscape.
The reading, theme and aesthetics of the project for e.g. introducing the abattoir as a crucial element of the experience or the chosen weathering materials, draw on Joseph Beuys’ piece “Show your Wound” and translates these into a specific yet imaginative architectural articulation.


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