Place of Connection

A music retreat and performance hall for ‘Sistema’ in Balloch, Scotland. A charity aiming to transform children’s lives through the means of music and playing an instrument in an orchestra.

 

The proposal aims to build a connection between Sistema and Balloch, drawing on the history of the place as a result of geography and how this relates to the present. Through these means, it aims to establish a link between the individual and the public. All to be experienced within the architecture through the articulation of music. Music is the tool to help children express themselves and in turn develop their identity. It is the entity bringing the community of Sistema together, but also connecting the children to a wider public, through the universal language of music.

The overarching significance of the site gets highlighted through voids. It leaves the negative space of the former railway to contain the historical and geographical context of the site and to frame music on the path.

The qualities of spaces are defined by their function and Sistema’s ideas of belonging and faith. This is expressed by varying levels of timelessness within the retreat and achieved through materiality, variations of durability, structure, flexibility and arrangement. The structure becomes one with the architecture, truly reflecting the program.

a place inbetween, serving something bigger

Balloch marks the end of the boundary line between lowlands and highlands. It’s culture has been defined by external forces due to its geographical location as an access point to the highlands, and it’s proximity to Glasgow. A place of transit in history as well as today, making Balloch part of a bigger cluster. Sistema introduces a wider range of interests in providing a service for society.

point of connection, building up tension

The tension of this boundary peaks at the pier in Balloch. In the past it acted like a bridge between the low and highlands by connecting railway with steamboats. The symbolic connection got lost by stripping back the rails, breaking the directionality between low- and highlands.

warm structural stone, external timber frame

The quality of spaces are expressed through structural systems. Warm, structural stone, has been used as an integral part of the more permanent spaces. Less timeless spaces are being held up by an external timber frame.

Timelessness

Timelessness can on one hand be defined, when a thing becomes independent of contemporary customs and trends. On the other hand, it can be manifested through materiality and structure, creating physical permanence.

directional void

The overarching significance of the site gets highlighted through voids. It leaves the negative space of the former railway to contain the historical and geographical context of the site and to frame music.

honesty

The goal is to incorporate the embodied energetic performance of the building fabric into the phenomenological experience of spaces. This allows a throughout honest use of a building, eliminating purely aesthetic usages of materials and letting the building act as a teacher.

sensitive and expressive qualities

The individual practice spaces next to the path form the first layer of the residential retreat. They communicate highly sensitive and expressive qualities of the practitioner through sound, a language to be understood by everyone and let the individual connect with the wider community and public.

Basalt Rock

The energetic approach is based on circular economic principles, acknowledging the local socio-economic structures. Basalt rock from the nearest quarry in use (Dumbuckhill quarry) with similar bearing capacities to concrete is being used as the main construction material.

framing music within communal spaces

Music as a tool to help children express themselves and in turn develop their identity. It is the entity bringing the community of Sistema together.

formal connection

The individual becomes part of something bigger, the orchestra. Through the means of music, the orchestra produces a common good and connects with the public. The performance hall provides a space for a formal connection between the public with children and the retreat next door.

music, history and the individual

The physical behaviour of soundwaves never changes and therefore makes music and the spaces related to it the most prominent constant throughout time within Sistema’s program. The historic context of the site becomes another permanent factor. Contrarily, the accommodation is something purely based on the individual and therefore more open for adaptation to different people and ways of living over time. ‘The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear as-sures us of the reality of the world and ourselves’ - Hannah Arendt