Once again apologies for the slow updates! I keep forgetting this blog. Anyway, I got cracking on the structure design, so here we go.
I settled on the two beacon/lighthouse designs, #71 and #85, mostly because they were fun to come up with and so presumably would be fun to work on. These are some initial thoughts on where I could take the design, including possible settings for it. I like the idea of it being a cliff-based lighthouse - I saw the ruins of an old Roman lighthouse at Dover Castle a few weeks ago and it appears to have stuck with me.
Mostly playing with scale and setting here - lighthouses tend to mean 'keep away', so if there's a mountain in the way of something really nasty, what better way to tell people 'here be certain death' than by hollowing out a mountain and lighting it on fire? Alternately it could be some incredibly rich noble's folly, a way of shouting to the world 'I have more money than I know what to do with'. The other sketches were just looking at different 'bowls' for the fire, which was continued on a later spread.
Looking at silhouettes and beginning to think about the turnaround. I'm still not happy with the curved tower - something about it just doesn't look right. I tried a couple of different possibilities, including setting the lighthouse into a cliff-face. Of all the tower-based designs this is probably my favourite.
And back to looking at the bowl. Just experimenting with shapes, although I did hit upon the short-lived idea of it being a fountain of fire. It would work like an ordinary fountain, only using flaming oil instead of water. Despite the inherent awesomeness of a flaming fountain, it would be pretty impractical for a lighthouse and would send burning oil everywhere the moment the wind got up. I will find another use for this idea. It's too fantastic to leave to rot.
And finally I settled on the carved-out-of-the-cliff-face 'maw'. My initial idea had been to have a hole at the top of the cliff through which oil and the flame could be delivered, but then I realised that it would cause the flame to gush up through the hole before it could be covered again. As such I tried combining the tower with the cliff-hole, with the spiral of fuel up to the bowl. I rolled with this until I realised that it would be much easier just to shift the doorway up to the edge of the bowl, fuel it and light it and then run like all the demons of hell were after you than go aaaaalll the way down to the bottom of the cliff. I also looked at scale and fire-holes again - the giant, gaping hole seems a bit like overkill, and the slits and smaller holes wouldn't show the massive fireball I want it to be, so it seems that of these the 'maw' design has won.