Today sees the launch of the third group of design competitions to be built as part of the widely acclaimed Scottish Scenic Routes initiative.
This pilot programme, funded by the Scottish Government, was launched in 2013 as a three year initiative intended to enhance the visitor experience of Scotland’s landscape through the creation of innovatively designed viewpoints and landscape features.
The initiative has three key aims:
1. to provide models /demonstration projects for new and innovative design and construction along Scotland’s Scenic Routes, thereby enhancing the country’s tourism infrastructure.
2. to support employment and the economies of rural communities in often remote parts of Scotland.
3. to showcase through design competition the best of Scotland’s recently qualified architects / landscape architects and to give the winning participants experience, mentoring and the chance to see these early career opportunities realized in full scale physical form.
The new group of design competitions focuses on three different locations: one just north of Fort William and a short distance from the A82 on the ‘Road to the Isles’ (A830) on land owned by Scottish Canals, whilst the other two sites are within the Cairngorms National Park adjacent to the A93 and A939 respectively. The competition challenges presented by each site are quite distinct –
The first competition site is at Banavie where Neptune’s Staircase, Scotland’s longest flight of canal lock gates, forms the entrance to the Caledonian Canal and the Great Glen and provides one of the finest views of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain. A unique marker structure / landscape treatment that can signify the entrance to the site and improve the legibility of the area to visitors is required, together with the possibility of a sister structure / installation that can act as an orientation and meeting point and / or as a recommended frame for photographs of the mountain.
The second site is at the Devil’s Elbow, a natural lay-by on the A93 and popular parking place for walkers intending to access the four Munros that lie west of Glenshee. Given the sheer scale and drama, the Devil’s Elbow location necessitates subtle engagement with the topography and geology of the surrounding landscape to deliver a design that will not only enhance the existing lay-by but also propose a strategy for its future overall development.
The third location on the A939 is on the northern outskirts of Tomintoul, a small, planned settlement that has strong claims to be the highest village in the Highlands. The site is a disused quarry that is used as a stopping place to access the natural viewpoint to the River Avon and the Cairngorm mountain range beyond. The competition’s primary objective here is for the existing informal viewpoint to be given new definition through the design of a unique structure / landscape installation. An overall strategy for the upgrading and future development of the lay-by is an integral part of the brief.
Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals, said: “Scotland’s canals are home to some of the nation’s most breath-taking scenery and we’re delighted that the waterways are playing a part in the Scenic Routes project.
“We know from the experience of Scandinavia that creating new and innovative opportunities for visitors to stop off and enjoy the landscape can significantly benefit the nation’s tourist economy. With the help of some of the finest young architectural talent in Scotland, I have no doubt this project will encourage even more people to explore the many wonders of the canal network.
“Banavie, which sits in the shadow of Ben Nevis and is home to the iconic lock flight of Neptune’s Staircase, is one of the jewels in the crown of the Caledonian Canal. I can’t wait to see how the competition’s designs celebrate the majestic vistas of the area.”
Information and full briefing materials for each of the three sites is now available on the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre’s website. The competition is open to architects and landscape architects who are still within five years of having completed RIBA Part II or the achievement of Graduate landscape Architect status.
The requirement for the first stage of each of the three competitions is for conceptual solutions only, these to be submitted in pdf format as a single outline proposal drawing at A1 equivalent size. Up to four entrants will be shortlisted for each of the three sites and invited to proceed to Stage Two. Those selected at this point will be required to develop their ideas in detail and to provide evidence that their designs are not only technically and financially robust, but can be fully delivered by the end of March 2016. The prize to the designer(s) of each the winning project’s is £5000.
Entrants can choose to provide ideas for one more of the competitions. First stage entries for all three sites are to be submitted by 31 August 2015. There is no entry fee required from those wishing to take part in these competitions.
High-resolution images are available for all completed projects and can be obtained by contacting Hayley Stewart-Forbes at the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.