• Architect: Heatherwick Studio
  • Location: Belsay Castle, Essex
  • Client: Private Client

The Sitooterie is a tradional Scottish garden shelter where one can 'sit oot'. Ours is one of twelve commissioned for a limited design competition at Belsay Castle in 1994. The core of our design is a cube, punctured by over 5000 spikes that project from all surfaces and lift it off the ground.

The 2.4m cube is precision-machined to receive the spikes using a 5 axis CNC drilling machine, running on an output file from 'Rhinoceros'. The spikes themselves are 15mm anodised aluminium tubes, glazed with transparent orange acrylic at their tip. As these all point at the exact centre of the cube, it only takes a single light source, located at this central point, to send light to the tip of every spike.

The design was first unveiled in a relatively simple proposal for a pavilion building at Belsay Castle. It was taken further for the Essex location, and in the Shanghai Expo in 2010 it was re configured as an enormous ’Seed Cathedral’ where each spike was made of polycarbonate and served to feed light down into the space within, with each spike carrying a different ‘potted’ seed from the collection at Kew Gardens.

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