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Studio Day Out: Prestonpans

28.06.2024

The priorities of a project shift and distort over its lifetime and often it is on site where we re-focus on what we care about as a studio and why it is important for us to take care with our designs and buildings.

A visit to Hamilton House and Preston Tower, Doocot & Gardens in Prestonpans gave us collectively the opportunity to reflect on the notion of care not only in relation to our building projects but also towards the communities those buildings serve and the material knowledge, efforts and skills of our collaborators.

Whereas Hamilton House is a project in its infancy; Preston Tower stands in contrast as it comes towards the end of a stage of conservation and repair. The efforts and attention of an entire community, design team and array of skilled crafts people and makers is now evident in the material presence of the ancient monument. Visiting the project with the stone mason and sculpture conservator gave us the opportunity to learn more about working this material, in particular around the extreme care required for an ancient monument and leaves us with the energy and enthusiasm to take the lessons from Preston Tower forward to our future projects.

Special thanks to Graciela Ainsworth from Graciela Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation and Robert Swinton from Campbell and Smith Construction Group for their time and generosity in demonstrating their expertise in the conservation of lime and stone materials. Thanks also to the GRAS Preston Tower team—Charlie Porter, John Robson, and Natasha Huq—for facilitating the tour and demonstrations, as well as to Gunnar Groves-Raines, Andrew Harvey, Gabriela Chojnowska, and Luis Brana for the morning session on GRAS Survey Methodology at Hamilton House.

Written by David Byrne