Constant and Variables
Time on Holy Island is defined by the cyclical nature of the tide, which cuts off the island from the mainland.
The museum explores the intertidal zone between low tide and high tide, and the sea beyond. Accessible at low tide, the museum provides a pilgrimage, stretching out across the hostile landscape and into the horizon. The forms become isolated and cut off at high tide, capitulating to the crashing waves and sea.
Rock form vessels do not try to resist the tide – but surrender to it, surfing and shifting in the shingle through time, providing permanent markers in the littoral zone. Man made ‘islands’ in the off shore provide retreats for contemplation and solitude, referencing the life of St. Cuthbert.
Fresh water mussels and marine life cling to the rocks and vessel walls at low tide, allowing them to be gathered and collected by local farmers for retreat occupants. A boat house lies on the breakers at the edge of the North Sea; providing boat access from the land to remote sea retreats, echoing the journey of the Ionic Monks.
The museum provides a prominent marker in the landscape from land and sea, creating a constant in an area of variable tidal conditions.