Student Project | Orkney Climate Theatre | Jo Wang

Climate change has shaped many magnificent landscapes, but many are also in danger of erosion and disappearance. Climate change and human destruction are also threats to many sites on the UNESCO list, which identifies the most important natural and historical heritage on the planet. When they disappear, will they be removed from the list directly, or will there be other ways to commemorate these landscapes that once existed?

I propose that “the power of climate” could be recorded directly as an intangible heritage on the UNESCO list, one that continues to shape diverse landscapes and, therefore, is a permanent heritage. People from all over the world will gather together to witness and celebrate this intangible UNESCO power and many “landscape tragedies” that result from this power. Just like the educational argument of “Last Chance Tourism”: “These experiences allowing visitors to see firsthand the damage done by climate chance, may encourage them to treat the planet better upon returning home.”

My target site – Orkney Island, is an island suffering from severe climate risks: Skara Brae, the historical site of Neolithic human settlement, and Ring of Brodgar, the earliest stone henge in the world, will be submerged in the near future due to rising sea levels. The Old Man of Hoy, one of the highest sea stack in the UK, will collapse in a few years due to wind and tide erosion. They are landscape tragedies caused by climate change and climate erosion.

I will propose a performance based on the relationship between landscape features, climate, and humans and record the landscape tragedies in a performative and theatrical way. I divided the show into three scenes in both spatial and time dimensions: EROSION, COLLAPSE, and REBIRTH.

The first scene, EROSION, takes place between now and the final fall. The second scene will be the Old Man of Hoy’s COLLAPSE moment. The third scene, REBIRTH, is the story of what happened after the collapse of the Old Man of Hoy. Research suggests that the forces of nature will continue to erode the Hoy coastline and create another sea stack in the future.

Orkney Climate Theatre

Student: Jo Wang
University: University College London
Supervisor: Laurence Blackwell Thale, Pete Davies, University College London

About Damian Holmes 3274 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at