There's a magical quality to the landscape of Scotland, a rugged allure that beckons the curious and the brave. In this harsh yet captivating setting, an architectural firm, BARD, is embarking on a challenging project: breathing new life into a historic bothy ruin steeped in Jacobite history.
Perched on an elevated plateau with an impressive vista of the Prince’s beach, the ruin marks the location where Charles Edward Stuart, the young pretender, first set foot on Scottish soil on 23rd July 1745, setting off the second Jacobite uprisings.
The ruin, a mute witness to this significant chapter in Scottish history, stands a few meters below a lay-by on the main road to the Eriskay - Barra ferry slipway. It's here that the architects at BARD will transform the remnants of the past into a modern habitation, without erasing its historical narrative.
The original structure is a testament to the ravages of time and the resilience of human endeavors. Once a robust dry stone building, it exhibits a medley of rounded fieldstones and honed stones, with a layer of concrete capping applied at some point in history to support a new roof.
BARD's proposed design respects the ruin's past while sensitively introducing contemporary elements. Minor alterations will be made to the stone walls to repair a partial collapse in the south-western corner. This necessary cut will also create a visual conduit, opening up panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The stones removed from this corner will find new purpose in restoring other areas of the structure, maintaining a continuity of materials.
The team intends to retain the exterior stonework, nestling a new, simple pitched roof structure within. The choice of Ballachulish slate for the roof, partially hipped to the rear, ensures a minimal visual impact on the stunning vista.
The architects have meticulously planned the layout of this compact dwelling. A quaint external courtyard at the rear of the stone ruins will act as the main entrance, leading to a cosy space containing a shower room and a kitchenette. An existing opening in the stonework will be ingeniously repurposed as a window for the shower room, exemplifying the harmony between the old and the new.
Inside, the main space is vaulted, a design decision enhancing the spatial effect. A strategically placed roof light will bathe the interior with morning light, casting an ever-changing play of shadows on the solid gable adjacent to the stove.
At the core of this thoughtful design, a specially created ledge at the open gable/corner provides a contemplative spot to sit and admire the breathtaking surroundings. This project, combining architectural innovation with historical preservation, results in a dwelling that not only pays tribute to Scotland's history but also stands as a testament to the potential of adaptive reuse in architecture.