Croft 3 is a dining hall and restaurant creatively repurposed by fardaa, a London-based architecture studio, from a ruined basalt barn.
The project, completed in October 2022, is located on the Isle of Mull, known for its close-knit communities supported by tourism and small-scale farming. The remote Scottish isles have a strong community ethos, and Croft 3 has quickly become a valued resource for the local community.
The dining hall is defined by two offset pitched volumes that echo the twin hillscape of Ulva island across the bay. The contrasting gables, one made of stone and the other of timber, are inspired by the local vernacular and offer a strong profile regardless of the direction of approach. Visitors approach the restaurant from the road above and behind, with the long black roofs of the building appearing lower than the sea and Ulva beyond. Upon entering the building, visitors encounter a low, intimate foyer before turning into a tall, light hallway and then through a deep compressed doorway into a grand dining room with spectacular views of the sea, bay, and islands beyond.
The existing structure has been restored using lime mortar and salvaged basalt from the original stone structure, while an exposed timber ceiling of pine rafters and plywood adds a gentle warmth to the tall, open space. The thick building envelope is heavily insulated to reduce heat loss, punctuated by existing and new openings with windows and doors set deep in the wall for the original apertures to preserve the appearance of punched openings. New windows are flush with the external face to trace the form of the original building.
Croft 3's interiors are defined by simple, raw materials, with American White Ash timber floors complementing the soft salmon tones of the raw plaster walls. Tall, white painted skirting and door surrounds contrast with these more varied tones and provide robust surfaces in high traffic areas. The dining room is furnished with reclaimed French cafe chairs and brewers' benches, with long, communal dining tables made on the island from a single Douglas fir.
The timber-clad extension is anchored by two solid stone pylons at the southwest and northeast corners, strengthening a datum relating to the existing stone doorway and further extending to new windows, doors, and eaves. fardaa designed Croft 3 to enhance the grand setting, taking cues from the close-coupled massing of traditional island farmsteads while opening up the interior to spectacular distant views.
Completed in October 2022, Croft 3 highlights fardaa's capability to design contextual, sustainable architecture that values and enhances community and culture. The dining hall is a valued community resource, showcasing the potential for creative adaptive reuse of existing structures to provide vital new community facilities.