EVENT: Bioregional visit to Aberdeen

Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:22:56 -0500


A Bioregional Visit to Aberdeenshire

Saturday 8th June 1996

The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture
The Robert Gordon University


The term Bioregion was first coined in America by Kirkpatrick Sales in
the 1970's. It describes the fusion of regions defined by common flora
and fauna and other ecological factors, with regions defined by their
common local cultures and self-sustaining economies based on the local
environment and its resources. Where these commonalities overlap you
have a Bioregion.


There are various models for the division of Scotland ranging from 4
to 11 zones. They all recognise the major cultural and physical
differences between the east and west coast and the Highlands and


The existence of cultural and physical variety within Scotland offers
the greatest possibility for continuing Biodiversity, which in turns
offers the greatest chance of survival for living organisms. Human
design has a symbiotic relationship with this diversity and we ignore
regional differences at our peril.


Uses indigenous, regional materials

Adopts detailing to suit regional climate

Supports local community activity

Respects and is aware of regional traditions

Builds on vernacular design principles

Encourages a regional economy


10.00 Arrival and Registration

10.30 Introduction - Fionn Stevenson

10.40 The Concept of Bioregion
- talk by Yahya Alexander

11.10 The SEDA Information Project
- talk by Jonathan Ball

11.40 Coffee and Questions

12.00 The need for Bioregional Design
- Cultural Sustainability talk by Fionn Stevenson

12.20 The Aberdeenshire Bioregion Materials Audit - Interim results
- talk by Julie Macrae

12.40 Lunch at the Norwood Hotel

14.00 Visit to Breathing Walls Building by Camphill Architects + talk
and Twin Towers by Jeremy Dixon and Ed Jones

15.30 Visit to Bennachie Visitors Centre
by Lewis and Hickey DJP Architects
and Green Oak Barn by Carpenter Oak Moneymusk

17.30 Meet back at Norwood Hotel for evening socialising


Yahya Alexander: Studied Bioregionalism in the United States, visiting
several bioregional communities, now studying for his Ph.D at the
school of architecture, The University of Edinburgh.

Jonathan Ball: Studied forestry, information technology, carried out a
regional audit on native woodlands before becoming the SEDA
Information Project Officer.

Julie Macrae: Graduated from the Scott Sutherland School of
Architecture. Principle researcher for the Aberdeenshire Bioregion
Materials Audit

Fionn Stevenson: Lecturer and Researcher at the Scott Sutherland
School of Architecture currently investigating cultural aspects of
sustainable design.


Breathing wall building: This small hostel combines ideas from the
Camphill Movement with the latest thinking in Breathing Wall

Twin Towers, Garthdee Campus: This student accommodation is a classic
example of Bioregional design by a leading architect.

Bennachie Visitors Centre: Set at the foot of Bennachie, 15 miles from
Aberdeen, a low energy new vernacular building in timber and stone.

Green Oak Barn: Example of greenwood building near picturesque
Moneymusk model village, 3 miles from Bennachie.


Costs have been kept to an absolute minimum. Tea and Coffee is
provided but you will need to pay for your own lunch (=A35 - =A310). We
shall share cars to get to the country sites (let the organiser know
in advance if you are without transport). For those wishing to stay
overnight there are numerous Bed and Breakfasts in the vicinity. In
addition some floor space may be made available through the organiser.

Cost: =A310 waged, =A35 unwaged


There are many and multiplying initiatives in ecological design but
they are fragmented by discipline, country and language, often lacking
in information and publicity. The new rise in ecological awareness,
health and spiritual consciousness in design can only be sustained if
designers acknowledge a new philosophy and practice. We are entering
an era when ecological design will be a central focus in all fields,
yet the infra-structure for ecological design does not exist. SEDA is
part of a global network providing information, education, exchange of
ideas and stimulation for this new design approach. For full details
and membership information please contact:

Sebastian Tombs
Scottish Ecological Design Association
c/o RIAS, 15 Rutland Square

Tel: 0131 229 7545 Fax: 0131 228 2188


The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture is on the south western
edge of Aberdeen set in beautiful grounds by the river Dee. A number 1
or 2 Bus will take you from the main station to the door step (15
mins). Car-sharing and lifts may be arranged via the organiser. Trains
are regular and frequent from Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh
(Journey time approx. 2-3 hours).

For more information and booking please contact the organiser:

Fionn Stevenson
Tel: 01224-263713 (day)
01224-487492 (eve)
Fax: 01224 263535