Stenness Archaeology Research & Education Centre

Dale Leith        2019

A new European epicentre for Archaeology research and education at Stenness. This thesis deeply questions the sustainability of global tourism; specifically looking to make a positive impact out of some of the negative aspects’ tourism is bringing to the remote island community of Orkney, the cruise ship capital of the UK.Following extensive research, I designed a facility that follows the notion of a contemporary caravanserai, a romanticised staging post that attempts to respond to the dilemma of superficial mass tourism. A building that aims to nurture seasonal fragility of a Northern place and become a vessel where some form of authentic cultural exchange can happen between the visitors and the resident.A muted yet powerful monolithic centre lies in the UNESCO world heritage site of Stenness where it attempts to make meaningful mark in the austere Orcadian landscape. Symbolically the centre tries to continue a historical pilgrimage that has been happening for the last seven thousand years to this place, known as the Heartland, by drawing on themes of the remarkable Neolithic cairns, burial chambers and ambiguous Standing Stones that the visitors from across the globe flock to see and the island community cherish as an identity.