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November 24, 2009 9:58 AM   Subscribe

What's the story behind this strange circular building in the middle of nowhere in Scotland

This was passed on from a friend who was intrigued and it got me scratching my head too. I've got an idea that I've seen something similar on television that was basically a work of art, but I'm not sure in this case. Google fails me. Anyone know?
posted by fearfulsymmetry to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It looks like a new construction based on the traditional Broch. These were ancient fortresses/dwellings. The designers may have used stones from an original ruin. North Scotland has a lot of them.
posted by freya_lamb at 10:07 AM on November 24, 2009

I've not come across this one, but outdoor art is quite the thing in Scotland (including outdoor performance art).

These are further south, but show the sort of thing that will be comissioned: "a contemporary folly installed on the site of a previous Victorian folly" sounds quite similar in scope to this. I wouldn't be surprised if part of the artistic 'vision' of the structure was that people could use it to watch the stars.
posted by Coobeastie at 10:19 AM on November 24, 2009

Someone is asking about it here too (on the left) and it's discussed here with other photos. From those pics (high quality slate, construction) I'd strongly wager a folly/art project. There are a lot in Scotland.

Here it is on google maps.

If it's eating you inside the structure is located on the path behind Craiganour Lodge, you could try asking them.
posted by fire&wings at 10:40 AM on November 24, 2009

Best answer: I'm fairly sure it's an art installation called a skyspace, you can see a link to one here.

Perth scaffolding seem to confirm this is a skyspace, the image 3 from the top seems to match. James Turrell is the man responsible for many such projects, though this location doesn't seem to be listed. So maybe it's a copycat version, or as Craiganour is a shooting estate, possibly just a super-fancy place from which to shoot grouse.
posted by multivalent at 11:13 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

multivalent beat me to it. I was just going to pop in and say I think it is a James Terrell art installation like this one.
I couldn't find any record of it. This doesn't suprise me though. James Turrell is notorious for not giving press interviews and doesn't like for his installations to be photographed or featured in the press.
posted by at the crossroads at 11:36 AM on November 24, 2009

Best answer: It is in fact a James Turrell work. Here is a link to the architecture firm commissioned to design it.
(Oops. I misspelled his name in my first answer. It's Turrell, not Terrell.
posted by at the crossroads at 12:42 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Well found atc!
posted by multivalent at 9:15 AM on November 25, 2009

Response by poster: Many thanks for the answers.

I'm now pretty certain now that I saw it on a art television show, but it's nice to confirm it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:38 AM on November 25, 2009

Just wanted to close this by saying I have been in a few of the spaces that James Turrell created and they are magical, weird, _____ (metaphysical?) places. [previously on MetaFilter]

I lived in Houston while they were digging this pedestrian tunnel beneath Main Street connecting the old Mies van der Rohe building to the new museum wing designed by Rafael Moneo. One of my friends was on the crew constructing it. He revealed to me this story:

James Turrell was supposed to be here at ten o'clock to oversee the proceedings. At eleven there's still no sign of Mr. Turrell. Give him time. He's an important man. International Artist, y'know. Noon rolls by, then One, then Two. Still no sign of him. We can't do anything until he gets here. Administrators and Curators start wringing their hands. We can't have all these hired worms standing around doing nothing. At 2:30 one of them tells my friend to call Mr. Turrell's hotel. Maybe there was an accident? Maybe he is lost? So he calls, and Mr. Turrell's personal assistant answers the room phone.

"Uh, hello. I'm calling from the museum. We're at an impasse here."

"I'm sorry. But Jim is waaayyy too high to get any work done today."
posted by at the crossroads at 1:08 AM on November 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

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