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Strathclyde students reveal trio of Highland 'gems'

Students from the University of Strathclyde have completed three schemes as part of the Scottish Scenic Routes Initiative

The three instalations in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park were designed to encourage people to stop and view the scenery.

At the falls of Falloch Part 2 student John Kennedy, who is currently working at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners created a walkway and sheltered viewing platform that cantilevers over the edge of the water.

Ruairidh Campbell Moir, who graduated in 2013 and now runs his own practice: BARD, has created a steel promontory that overlooks the Loch Lubnaig. The viewpoint features a verse by local bard Alexander Campbell: ‘Now Winter’s wind sweeps’ which describes mans place in the natural cycle.

The third project designed by Part 2 students Angus Ritchie and Daniel Tyler is a mirrored cabin fitted with two seats.

What is the Scottish Scenic Routes Initiative?

The scheme, a Scottish version of an existing Norwegian programme, began in June 2013 with a government funding award of £1.5 million over three years. The initiative was designed to open up remote and spectacular parts of the Scottish landscape through installations encouraging and enabling people to stop and view the scenery.

The project aimed to promote the work of young, untested designers and competitions. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park was the first government agency to roll out the scheme and offered £5,000 grants to all Scottish architecture schools willing to take part. The University of Strathclyde was the only school to accept.

Falls of Falloch - Woven Sound by John Kennedy

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The Falls of Falloch is a very well known waterfall adjacent to the main Glasgow to Oban road. The Falls are recorded in many works of literature over the years including the travel diaries of various Romantic writers of the 18th and 19th centuries. The installation at the Falls is intended to provide a sheltered viewing platform which allows visitors to experience the drama of the Falls at closer range. Cantilevering over the edge of the water, the shelter takes the form of a long narrow trellis which weaves its way between existing trees to the cliff edge at the falls.

The structure is very delicately inserted into the context, wrapping around existing trees and following the contours of the ground. The shelter is formed from lengths of steel-reinforcing bar woven together to create an undulating, sculptural shape that forms a journey through the forest, focusing the sound of the falls and finishing at the water’sedge. The thoughts of Dorothy Wordsworth on her experiences of the Falls are engraved on the end balustrade - providing a visual and literary link to the Grand Tourist of the past and reinforcing this project’s part in defining a new grand route through Scotland’s scenery.

Loch Lubnaig - Sloc nan Sìtheanach by Ruairidh Campbell Moir

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The site is located in the Trossachs, just off the main road from Stirling to Crianlarich and overlooks the long, narrow and deep Loch Lubnaig. The location of the installation is a small, natural hollow in the ground, elevated above the Loch where people had formally taken a break from their journey and sat to take in the stunning views. ‘Sloc’ is Scots gaelic for ‘grassy hollow’, and ‘Sìtheanach’ represents faerie people, who according to mythology reside at such places of peace and tranquility.

The existing hollow was subtly reinforced by building up the ground behind using a timber crib wall to form a curving embankment of earth and planting to shelter one from the noise of the road. A path threads from the car park through what will, with each passing season become a thicket of Blackthorn to a steel and stone bench. From here a weary traveller can sit and appreciate the far reaching views up the Loch.

At the end of the path and overhanging the Loch is a steel promontory which features a verse by local bard Alexander Campbell: ‘Now Winter’s wind sweeps’ which describes mans place in the natural cycle and encourages one to not only to appreciate one’s surroundings but also one’s fleeting moment amongst them.

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