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New talents shortlisted in £100k Highland shelters contest

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A trio of emerging practices has been shortlisted in the Highland Council’s design contest for three low-cost and remote visitor centres in Wester Ross

Edinburgh-based Calum Duncan Architects with Urban Pioneers, Hilton Barnfield Architects from Exeter and Glasgow-based Mike Hyatt Landscape Architects have all been chosen for the contest’s final phase.

The two-stage competition, open to architects and landscape architects, sought ‘innovative and striking’ proposals for new visitor information points at three key entry points to the scenic region.

According to a council statement: ‘The competition attracted the attention of architects from across the world and there were 66 concept design submissions received last week.

‘All submissions were of a very high standard making the evaluation process both rewarding and challenging. Submissions were reviewed by a technical panel then a judging panel, made up of five community representatives, that shortlisted their favourite three.’

The £100,000 project will deliver three stand-alone shelters at the Smithy Hub near Lochcarron, the A835 layby close to Braemore junction and in Achnasheen.

The coastal area of Wester Ross is a popular tourist destination featuring many sea lochs, freshwater lochs and Munro-class mountains.

The competition is part of Scotland’s 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design celebrations, and follows the creation of the North Coast 500 driving route which has boosted visitor numbers in the district.

The first shelter will be constructed at the Smithy Community Hub just outside Lochcarron where the popular touring trail enters Wester Ross from the south.

The second installation will replace an existing bus stop outside Achnasheen train station. Designs must fit within the structure’s existing envelope and include a bus and train timetable display.

The final installation will be erected within a large layby near Braemore Forest on the key A835 road between Ullappool and Inverness.

The winning team will be announced on 16 December and will receive £15,000 and the design commission. A £1,000 honorarium will also be paid to the two defeated finalists. The shelters are set to start on site next year.



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