Crawick Multiverse designated by Historic Environment Scotland


Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has added Crawick Multiverse to the inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

The site was nominated to be considered for designation by a member of the public as part of HES’s ‘Designed Landscapes of the Recent Past’ project, an initiative to identify and champion Scotland’s remarkable modern gardens and designed landscapes.

Located near Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway, Crawick Multiverse is of outstanding artistic and historical interest as an example of early 21st century land art. It was designed and constructed on the site of a former open-cast coal mine by renowned landscape architect Charles Jencks between 2011 and 2017. It is now run by The Crawick Multiverse Trust, who operate the site as a visitor attraction, unique destination and outdoor venue.

Charles Jencks design

Charles Jencks (1936-2019) was an internationally renowned land artist, cultural theorist (particularly of Postmodernism), and architectural historian. Crawick Multiverse was his final land art project and his largest completed work in the UK, though his work can be found across the globe from India to South Korea.

Jencks designed Crawick Multiverse to explore cosmology, prehistory, and connections to the past through the theory of the ‘multiverse’. Features in the landscape convey a sense of the universe and its rhythms, from the standing stone avenue through the North-South Line, which evokes prehistoric stone monuments like the Neolithic Calanais (or Callanish) Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis, to the Omphalos, which signifies both the geological and mythical interior of the Earth.

Land regeneration

Crawick Multiverse covers an area of 22.5 hectares of land – over 36 football pitches – and is significant for its ambitious scale, visual and conceptual design integrity. Designed as a land regeneration project for public access, the Multiverse enriches the local community and connects its visitors to both the industrial history of the area and the prehistory of the British Isles.

Philip Robertson, Deputy Head of Designations at HES, said: “Crawick Multiverse is an excellent addition to the inventory. Many of the ideas Charles Jencks explored throughout his illustrious career culminate at a massive scale here, and the site has artistic, cultural and historical significance.

“Gardens and designed landscapes of the recent past such as Crawick Multiverse are an important element of Scotland’s historic environment and landscape. However, they are not always valued as much as older sites. It’s important to record, recognise and promote awareness of these sites through our work.”

Patrick Lorimer, Trustee at The Crawick Multiverse Trust said: “As trustees we are delighted that Historic Environment Scotland has recognised the importance and unique nature of Crawick Multiverse and considered it to be worthy of a inclusion in their ‘Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes’ as part of their recent initiative to identify and celebrate Scotland’s modern gardens and designed landscapes. It is a rare and special accolade to be recognised in this way and a fitting tribute to Charles Jencks and his significant contribution to land art in the UK and across the world.”


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