enso enclosure

Architectural studio project
University of Waterloo, studio 4B led by Andrew Levitt

            A shelter from extreme weather conditions that protects precious ‘object’ buildings inside creating a microclimate for occupants.

            In traditional Japanese zen culture, enso describes the drawing of an imperfect circle, symbolizing strength, enlightenment, elegance, the universe and the void. At the Brough of Birsay in the Orkneys, Scotland, the enso enclosure is a space of reflection, drawing on the intimacy of rooms and the walls that become inhabited, while being surrounded by a vast nature. I was initially drawn to the wild weather of the site; storms, heavy rainfall, strong winds and changing tides dominate the island. The enclosure becomes a space of protection for the occupant from the elements, with a large concrete wall encasing a 60 m diameter zone on the south-west edge of the island.
            Within the wall are five dif ferent buildings: the hearth, the lodge, the greenhouse, the sauna and the artist studio. Each of these buildings occupy the wall in a distinctive way, using it as a form of shelter, a look-out point or a way to frame the building.