The Isles of Glencoe, Ballachulish

The practice was appointed by Glencoe Adventure to masterplan a leisure and tourism development, set on a 17 hectare promontory of land projecting out into Loch Leven and viewing directly onto the "pap" of Glencoe, in the Scottish Highlands.

The land, owned by The Scottish Office, was formed by slate waste deposited from the adjacent Ballachulish slate quarry. Being open textured land, and despite established topsoil trees and grass, the area was porous to the rising water of the tide from the salt water loch. The buildings therefore were all founded on a floating concrete raft.

The plan comprised a 70 bedroom hotel - the first new hotel in the highlands for over 100 years - an indoor pool, leisure and fitness club, visitor/highlands experience centre, heritage craft village, harbour and rented cottages.

Extreme weather conditions were a major factor in the design, down at sea level and the solution was to provide an "A" frame building, that was for the greater part a roof, clad in natural slate and following the contours of the existing banked promontory.

The practice designed both the buildings and the interiors, to create a contemporary interior for this three star, tourist hotel, whilst remaining faithful externally, to the more rugged textures and styles of the highlands. Utilising a combination of different building techniques, a very strong and resistant structure was provided, but retaining a sensitive profile, minimising visual impact on the very sensitive landscape.