Studio KAP were asked to provide some design proposals for shelters up on the moor at Whitelee. At the time of writing the biggest single windfarm site in Europe, it was bound to attract visitors and it was felt (correctly or otherwise) that these should to some extent be shepherded and provided for, rather than simply being left to roam randomly over the moorland.
These behemoths on our hillsides and moors are so new, so strange, contradictory and ambivalent. They tingle the same nerves that one feels amongst the ancient stones at Calanais, Skara Brae or Kilmartin.
Calanish; photograph, Rhodri Davies 2010
You feel in your guts that they are something different, not just their physical form of course but what they represent in terms of our current place in the world at large.
As man-made artefects they are at once an alien presence and at the same time probably some of the most refined and well-tuned interventions since pre-industrial times. Each turbine is at once an incredibly simple idea and a sophisticated quasi-organic form generated by computer modelling, barely distinguishable in its reality from the computer generated imagery that graced the desks of the planning enquiries.
They are at once a symbol of hope for future generations but also engender a poignant sense of futility that suffuses all the green endeavours of our affluent minority in the west. What use is a windmill or two in the face of a population steadily rising in its billions? We are a confused folk at the turn of a millennium.
Our shelters chime with this ambivalence: proposing a series of similarly primordial but, we hope, also elegant forms cast among the feet of these great machines. Sure, to a degree they will keep the rain off and provide place for a sandwich, but somehow a walk out there is more significant as it blows away the cobwebs of our working week.
Are these seeds, puffballs, eggs? Wind-blown spores of the giants themselves?
– Roderick Kemsley
Studio KAP (Glasgow)