Following a mapping exercise hiking within the North Pennines, this site, a beautifully preserved dry-stone sheepfold (just off the popular Carrier’s Way walking route) was identified as the preferred location to explore a design for a potential rambler’s retreat in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Although on first impression a barren landscape, this area is rich in agricultural and industrial history, our concept seeks to subtly marry both.
The uplifting form takes inspiration from various existing beacon-like structures which emerge from the crests of hills across the fells; from smelt mills and lead mine chimneys to trig pillars. Whereby its oval shape is intended to envelop the occupier providing both respite from and control over the harsh surroundings. The larch shingle mass is raised above the terrain to afford framed views over the surrounding dry-stone wall while retaining the site’s original use as a sheepfold.
The proposal appropriately draws upon original qualities such as light, sky and natural materials. The experience within the retreat varies throughout the day and year. When it is bright outside, the gaze is drawn to the horizon and sky by the surrounding windows and skylight respectively. When dark, the opportunity to hang a lamp above the central table creates the experience that the generous room height is lowered.