Friday25 July 2014

Floating Hermitage, Croft Castle, Herefordshire by David Connor & Mark Richards

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Floating dome-shaped two-storey cabin to act an observatory, studio and shelter

Designer David Connor and artist Mark Richards have proposed a floating building and a nine-day performance piece at Croft Castle in Herefordshire.

Connor has designed a floating hermitage in which Richards will spend nine days drawing as a means of contemplating nature. It was inspired by a 17th-century tradition where members of the aristocracy would house and support a hermit who would then become an object of fascination to visitors.

The folly is a dome-shaped, two-storey cabin with a projecting raft extending over water, supporting a deck chair. The hermitage will act as an observatory, studio and shelter.

The main structure will be formed by nine curved timber ribs. The elliptical shape of the hermitage will be created by bent marine plywood and clad with hand-split oak shingles.

Floating Hermitage by David Connor&Mark Richards


Externally, the floating platform will be made from a structural timber grid, fixed to floatation tanks. The deck will have two steel rails along which a drawing chair will slide.

Internally, there are two levels, comprising a living area below and sleeping area above.

Anahi Copponex designed the hermit’s costume, which is based on a traditional monk’s habit. Visitors will be able to observe the hermit at work.

Floating Hermitage by David Connor&Mark Richards


Funded by Meadow Arts, the £135,000 hermitage will be exhibited until August 2013 as part of its Time Will Tell exhibition. The piece will float on a pond in the castle’s Fishpool Valley, while working models and maquettes of the design process will be shown in the castle’s galleries.

The duo hope the hermitage will have a life beyond the exhibition at Croft Castle.

They said: “We envisage that whoever funds the building and transportation to and from the site will see this as an ongoing project. This may be as purely an intriguing object, a sculpture positioned in space to inspire curiosity and wonder.”


Readers' comments (3)

  • Will Mr Richards be creeping up on unsuspecting perambulators in true hermit tradition...he'll also need a scary beard....

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  • Dear James
    Sadly not...well sadly for me as that sounds like fun.

    This work references the hermit tradition, but is not any kind of re-enactment. It is primarily a performance about contemplation in the presence of nature. Observation and drawing will be the means by which this takes place.

    Come along and see.


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  • A very attractive concept. I would suggest some more irregularly sized and spaced windows so that the light is constantly on the move alongside changing views. Sadly my little moat is too modest to accomodate such an addition.

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