Scenic Routes - Laggan Loch

Competition Entry | Laggan

The site is in a prominent location at Laggan Locks on the Caledonian Canal and is surrounded by natural landforms and features which provide a striking location. The site is also part of a larger network of routes that make up expeditions and tourist activities.

The design consists of a cluster of buildings, connected to the existing car park and responding to the more functional aspects of the brief, and a more sculptural addition at the end of the landform.

The cluster of buildings are about providing a comfortable scale to wait for food, or to use the toilets; somewhere that encourages a longer dwell time within the area by creating a habitable public spaces. The contrasting roof structures make reference to the surrounding valley and the landscape while the steel overhang is in reference to the surrounding maritime bollards.

The smaller lookout structure, while also about lingering, is more focused on providing a place for quiet reflection and framing the natural landscape of the area. The stepped design does allow small groups to gather here but we see this more as a place for reflection and taking in the views. It lifts up to a small deck, creating a disconnect from the rest of the area and provides raised, unframed views out over the canal locks and down the valley.

Each structure is made up of a timber-clad inner layer that encloses the necessary function and an outer metal layer that provides protection and security to the buildings. The timber and the metal reference the industrial context of the site but also the use of two materials is a nod to the variety and complexity of the site. The timber slopes to mirror the sun path of the site, allowing the installation of solar thermal or photo-voltaic technology while the metal slopes in contrast to this. The effect is a visually striking composition that reflects the wider natural context of the valleys and lochs.