Constructing Horizons

with Rachel Briglio

Site Collage.jpg

Remediating the landscape of a decommissioned power station to create ecologies for birds.


Located east of Edinburgh in the town of Preston Pans, is Cockenzie Coal Power Station. Once serving much of Scotland, it has recently been decommissioned.


Two constructed landscapes resulted from the Power Station. Directly adjacent are a series of berms that control and conceal views of the building from surrounding residences.

To the west, connected by the coastal John Muir Walkway, are a collection of terraformed ash lagoons. Once storing residual ash from the Plant, they have been adopted by wildlife, primarily birds.

Today the complex sits in a state of suspension, absent of programme or a clear future. <i>This project is occupied with speculating about potential remediations for the site.

The dialectical relationship between the Power Station and the Ash Lagoons provides the focus for our intervention. Using active models the existing condition can be explored and altered.

Shared qualities between the two sites are found through film. There is potential to connect and merge.

A walkway is introduced that connects ash lagoon to power station. A datum in the lagoons, allowing landscape to change. In the Power Station, the inverse.

The proposal introduces a series of infrastructures and marshlands into the landscape to foster habitats of birds to form, and to allow people to enjoy and study these ecologies.

Pathways are defined by sightlines and thresholds. 200m in diameter, these thresholds signal when walkways become enclosed through a series of concrete planes and steel columns to ensure birds aren't disturbed. 

The walkways orchestrate the visitors’ journey through the lagoons, its thresholds and topographies, concealing and revealing their views inward to the lagoons and outwards to the sea and surroundings.

 As the walkway approaches the power station, a new marshland emerges. Located within the confines of the terraformed mounds.

At the plant, the path lifts off the ground, moving between a forest of columns. It’s purpose is to create an experiential bird observatory; looking over the ash lagoons to the west.

Nested within the existing matrix of columns, the walkway widens and narrows to create viewing platforms and points of enclosure.



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