Abstract: Architecture is undoubtedly an international profession, with practices undertaking projects far away from their home territories. In such a world, it is important that architects are able to design in a way that is responsive to the project’s setting and situation, refraining from unrooted architecture transposed from place to place. Through the examination of seminal texts in architectural theory regarding the relationship between landscape and the built environment, I develop a set of criteria which I believe will result in an ‘authentic’ architecture. Inspired by John Ruskin’s description of the honourable, but savage Gothic architecture of the northern countries, the name I give to this grounded architecture is Wild. In conjunction with the development of the criteria for Wild Architecture, I experiment and test the theory with the design of a City Music School in Aberdeen, in the north east of Scotland. To activate a neglected piece of the urban fabric, the music school is intended to become an extended part of the city, allowing the public to permeate through it, creating places to linger, watch and listen. Visitors are able to get close to the musicians, without disturbing their practise with fragments of music appearing and resonating between walls as they travel through the school. The ruins of the former Triple Kirks emerge from a sloping, vegetated landscape in the city centre’s Denburn Valley; the imposing but redundant brick steeple still a crucial part of the city skyline. The project attempts to dispense with the typical boundaries imposed between the natural and the built, exploring the possibility of an enhanced relationship that goes beyond coexistence, to create an architecture of the wild.
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