Roxana Caplan, Ollie Spur & Qixing Huang

Newcastle 2023

Mobile Sanctuaries

In moving towards net zero carbon, there is a pressing need to develop new ontological frameworks that fundamentally reposition our relationship with nature, from one that is exploitative to one that is symbiotic, nurturing and supportive. Monastic settlements, by necessity are self-sufficient. Enduring over thousands of years, monasteries have been models for sustainable settlements and contain valuable lessons in both mitigating and adapting to climate change. Not far from Inverness, within Ardross Estate, this project investigates the design and transformation of a 20-acre greenfield site into a self-sustaining Orthodox male monastic settlement. The project follows a bottom-up understanding of design, involving the Highlands Orthodox Community, the Ardross Community, local crafting and materialities. The work includes researching the efficacy of alternative methods of construction with low-environmental impact – using as far as possible local sustainable materials, energy generation, local water harvesting, waste recycling and the capacity of the site in the production of food for the community. The project relies on fundamental insights and contributions from lay-people and experts within the communities to assist in the development of the framework and strategies.

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