Designing a modern artefact on Foula

In 2022, Merrell launched a nationwide architecture and design competition designed to raise awareness of the many benefits of time spent on activities and experiences in the outdoors on mental health. The competition challenged UK-based architects, engineers, artists, designers, and students of these disciplines to design a small, temporary structure or ‘Beacon’ for the UK’s most remote inhabited island, Foula, with the purpose of providing a sheltered space where visitors can spend restorative time at peace whilst enjoying the wonders of the natural world.

The Pilgrim Stones, by Kevin Kelly of Kevin Kelly Architects, was selected by a panel of industry judges as the winning bid. The modern artefact has been designed to inspire native travel and act as a place of solace in solitude for intrepid hikers.

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About the author

Joe Murgatroyd

As creative director, Joe is responsible for delivering creative excellence across the agency. With over a decade of experience in the world of PR, specialising in the sport industry, Joe has amassed some enviable experience after working for some of the world’s most recognisable brands.
An alumnus of Sport Industry Group’s prestigious ‘Sports Industry NextGen Leader’ programme, he now shares his wisdom as a frequent contributor to industry publications such as The Drum, PR Week and Creative Moment.

Here, the architect provides an update on the project:

“The Pilgrim Stones project a journey that began with stone but has beautifully evolved into timber. This shift isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a thoughtful response to the unique challenges of building in one of the UK’s most remote landscapes.

“By embracing timber, we’ve not only navigated logistical hurdles but also drawn deeper connections with Foula’s natural beauty. The design continues the stone cluster formation and now embraces the layered strata of the island, a nod to the geological narratives embedded in the landscape. It’s a celebration of adaptability and respect for the environment, creating a hikers’ retreat that stands out with meaning.

“Inside, the pavilion remains a sanctuary of calm. Its design, with gentle curves and strategically framed views, offers a space for reflection and shelter, echoing the ancient pilgrims’ search for serenity.

“We invite you to explore this harmonious blend of innovation and tradition, where architecture meets nature.”

The Pilgrim Stones is set to launch this summer.

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