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Samstag, 20. März 2021

The Architecture of Peter Womersley in the Scottish Borders


Video; 33.11 min.
Camera, editing, research, text, sound, voice: Julia Zinnbauer; Scotland 2020

In 2020 I spent the summer and early autumn as an artist in residence at the MERZ Gallery in Sanquhar, in the South of Scotland. In this context I started researching about the English architect Peter Womersley, who lived and worked almost all his life in Galashiels, a town in the Scottish Borders.

In the late 1950s Womersley transported the idea of the modernist bungalow to this rather rural area and also built several Brutalist buildings, like e.g. the Gala Fairydean Stands. I travelled to Galashiels twice in order to visit as many of Womersley's buildings as I could reach by bycicle. I took photos and videos and also recorded interviews with people who had a personal relationship with Womersley and his architecture.

Peter Womersley's best friend was the textile designer Bernat Klein, for whom he designed a bungalow in the late 1950s and a studio close by in the early 1970s. This artist friendship is a beautiful link between modernist architecture and the textile tradition of the South of Scotland, so it was important to me that two outfits designed by Klein were part of my video. Moreover I embedded the whole story in the landscape as well as the literature of this area, as it was in Galashiels where the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott had lived in the 19th century.