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Moray architecture student's inspiring vision to feature in Scott Sutherland School exhibition

By Alan Beresford

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A MORAY architecture student is set to see his work feature in an inspiring exhibition of architectural vision.

Creating a sustainable future for the Finstown community was part of the design remit.
Creating a sustainable future for the Finstown community was part of the design remit.

Masters in Architecture (MArch) student, 23 year-old Maxwell Wilson, from Lhanbryde, will be joining fellow students as part of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment’s End of Year Show 2022, Ideas for Livin’, which launches at Robert Gordon University (RGU) on Friday, May 6.

The school will be transformed into a creative hub, showcasing exciting and inspiring projects from architecture and architectural technology students including students from the BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology course, BSc Architecture/Masters of Architecture and the MSc Advanced Architectural Design.

This is the first on-campus exhibition since the start of the pandemic and follows two years of digitalised events.

Mr Wilson’s Masters project is part of the University’s Pomona framework for Finstown in Orkney which aims to revive the town and provide a sustainable community for islanders.

Distilling gin using local Orcadian-grown produce.
Distilling gin using local Orcadian-grown produce.

He said: “RGU and The Scott’s School of Architecture has really prepared me for going out into practice.

"Everything has been practical and helpful; I feel confident going out to look for work with everything I have learned.

"I’m really looking forward to presenting my work as part of the Scott Sutherland End of Year Show, Ideas for Living.”

He was attracted to study at The Scott School of Architecture and Built Environment because Aberdeen offered a comfortable adjustment from his small village and "a great way to test the waters" of city life. The architecture course at Scott's was a big draw and a huge opportunity which he wanted to seize upon leaving Milne’s High School in Fochabers

Mr Wilson has created a greenhouse system, with a distillery, horticulture and residences. One would grow locally produced herbs and spices which would be used in an adjoining gin distillery. A third greenhouse would provide residential training thereby creating jobs in the community. Each greenhouse would have its own unique requirements for heating and non-heated, open, and enclosed spaces and use timber boxes clad with thick layer of local stone, to absorb the Orcadian sunlight.

MArch student Maxwell Wilson's theoretical project looks at reviving Finston in Orkney.
MArch student Maxwell Wilson's theoretical project looks at reviving Finston in Orkney.

He said: “My greenhouse designs regulate the temperature so that they can slowly release back as the sun goes down.

"They appear as traditional stone masses that can absorb heat in the winter that can then be used in the summer. By doing this, the building itself becomes itself a living organism within the living landscape.

“As well as being sympathetic to the landscape, I’ve created a sustainable design that offers a new industry to the community and a offers new jobs to the island. I’ve worked closely with the local community to achieve my project and it’s been really rewarding researching their needs and aspirations.

Reflecting on his experience at RGU, Mr Wilson added: “I am delighted with my time at RGU.

"It has undoubtedly changed my perspective on architecture and the profession. Studying through the pandemic has been different, but as we have slowly transitioned back into contact teaching, it’s been great to see that certain things that have worked well, have been retained. The benefits of a mix of online/contact are evident, I am happy with how the course has adapted.”

The #ScottsEndofYearShow is free to attend and opens fully to the public on Monday, May 9 10am until 4pm. It will run weekdays until Friday, May 20, taking place at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment.

The exhibition features a range of exciting and ambitious ideas, thinking and future development opportunities for Aberdeen, Orkney and the Western Isles. While hypothetical in nature, they are grounded in rigorous research.

Professor David McClean, Head of School, said: “I’m delighted to be opening The Scott Sutherland End of Year Show, Ideas for Living. Our students and staff have worked so hard over the past year as we have emerged from the pandemic, and the creative propositions on display offer fresh, positive thinking on the theme of developing sustainable communities across a breadth of contexts.”

“As one of the most established schools of architecture & built environment in the UK, our undergraduate and postgraduate course portfolio offers students a unique skill set that fosters innovative design thinking in making proposals that enhance sense of place and reflect society’s aspirations. It’s fantastic to be showcasing their work and I’d encourage everyone to come along to see the work of the next generation of professionals for themselves.”

The physical exhibition will also be supported by an online exhibition showcasing other projects from across the School.

To find out more about the exhibition visit: www.rgu.ac.uk/end-of-year-show

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