About The Project

An undertaking in pursuit of the M.Phil. Architecture & Urban Design at the University of Cambridge, Notional Identities is a two year long project situated on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill exploring the intersection of Architecture, Heritage and National Identity.

An expression of the national purpose of a future independent Scotland in built form, the project attempts to understand architectures of identity for a complex nation.

Completing the Scottish enlightenment vision of Edinburgh as the Athens of the North, Calton Hill becomes fertile ground for a symbol of a nation bound by civic nationalism, the idea of a common endeavour amongst any who desire it.

But, like the city of Edinburgh itself there is a duality to this approach. Scotland is a project, ongoing. An ideal under stress from the constant tension between the utopian ideal of a civic, daily plebiscite of involvement and the more archaic, romanticist ideals of nationalism and statehood.

Through the lens of the built environment, the project will explore elements that are warped, wilfully misread and edited out beyond recognition in the notion of a national identity.

The MPhil is a programme which blends both a written thesis drawing upon rigorous research and a realised, tangible architectural design project satisfying RIBA / ARB Pt. II requirements. A period of fieldwork from August – December 2017, situated in Edinburgh, enriches the research and designs ┬áproposed throughout.

The research is undertaken as part of the Cambridge Design Research Studio, and a link to this profile on their pages can be found here: