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Marine Research Centre

Part 2 Project 2022
Rafal Baczek
Robert Gordon University | UK
Situated on the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides, the brief for a marine research centre emerged from research into the very particular challenges experienced in sustaining and developing the island's communities in the face of significant environmental threats as well as economic opportunity. As such the project is strongly rooted in the realities of remote island living, breathing new life into an abandoned harbour through the design of a marine research laboratory that explores the diverse potentials of seaweed.

Architecturally, the design utilises the dramatic topography to create a highly rational and elegantly resolved proposal providing a compelling setting for living, working and education. Based on monastic principles, the design explores how scientists and students day to day tasks can be integrated to create a ‘home away from home atmosphere’.

From an early point the design considered future uses, with a number of credible alternative functions being proffered for the concrete plinth that forms the base of the laboratory. Of particular note was the work undertaken to evaluate the carbon implications of the design, not just in material terms, but in terms of transportation to such a remote location. This led to a reflective piece that re-evaluated the design of the superstructure, offering alternatives that were quantified in terms of carbon.

Rafal Baczek


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