A Bird Watcher’s Retreat | Dungeness, UK | Unit 21 | 2021

Awarded Distinction for Design & Distinction for Thesis

Nested in the wetlands of eerie Dungeness, the project proposes a setting for bird watchers that hope to escape into nature. The project reflects on the existing site – a vast, flat, and shingle-filled landscape with a vibrant bird wildlife. It acknowledges the different habitats and the birds that it caters towards, like passerines in grasslands and waterfowls in wetlands. It understands nature and synthesises the occupants and architecture with its ecological surroundings.

Designed to be experienced across four seasons, the spatial and experiential qualities of the project are conceived around the notion of framing small precise moments and creating a space of timelessness and tranquility. The project embodies and celebrates the passing of time, offering a place for rich encounters between humans, birds, and its environment. It transforms the humble activity of bird watching into a newfound experience by pushing the limits of seeing and understanding its relationship with time.

Stemming from an initial interest in Cubism, and David Hockney’s photo-collages, this project utilises mirrors as a new medium to create a different way of seeing. With mirrors, it creates a live image in the landscape and can shift large structures like a lighthouse or even a swan.

The plan consists of small built elements that are elegantly scattered and arranged across the site’s shingle landscape. Each element is designed to correspond to different bird habitats – grasslands, wetlands, and the shingle.

Isometric View of the Retreat in Context
A Leaflet from the Retreat Depicting the Site Map