Scottish Scenic Routes – Landscape Architects Design Competition

Scotland has some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. The Scenic Routes initiative which was launched in June 2013 aims to capitalise on the natural assets of Scotland so the spectacular scenery can be enjoyed from the best vantage points on the road network.  Open to recently qualified architects and landscape architects the principal aim of the two-stage competition is to provide models /demonstration projects for new and innovative design and construction along Scotland’s Scenic Routes, thereby enhancing the country’s tourism infrastructure.

The initiative has created uniquely designed viewpoints and viewing platforms on or close to the roadside of some of our most scenic routes to significantly improve the journey experience by providing new places to stop and enjoy Scotland’s landscape. It has enhanced tourism and supported sustainable economic growth. With initial funding by the Scottish Government, the initiative takes forward the ideas of the excellent example set by the National Tourist Routes programme in Norway. Below are the submissions made by the young architects and landscape architects who entered the competition for the first scenic routes projects of 2013 to be built in Scotland.


 CORTEN TRIANGLE AMPHITHEATRE by Sean Edwards Daniel Bär Stéphane Toussaint BTE Architecture at An Ceann Mor, Inveruglas. Photo: Michael McGurk

To read about the An Ceann Mor, Inveruglas site and to see detailed information and designs of the winning entry and shortlisted designs click here

Loch Lubnaig beag

 Sloc nan Sitheanach, Loch Lubnaig designed by Ruairidh Campbell Moir – Image Credit: Ross Campbell

A description of the proposal by designer Ruairidh Campbell Moir, “The site identified calls for an intervention due to its positioning elevated above Loch Lubnaig, its natural undulation in the landscape and due to the situation adjacent to the site. The place already clearly enjoyed by visitors, a natural hearth has been set out for us.  Sloc is Gaidhlig for ‘hollow’ or a cavity in the landscape. It is an apt description. Sitheanach, the gaelic for ‘Faerie’, the mystical creatures which according to our folklore roamed the landscape, and are associated with places associated with ‘peace’ and ‘tranquility’.

We should attempt to enhance the qualities of the forms of the landscape. Therefore, a short embankment is proposed to screen the site from the cars/road, and a very small cut with projecting canopy defined a seat to gather around. A series of posts disappearing into the hollow is a signal of its presence.  Filtering out the road noise, congregation around a hearth, an embrace of the retained earth opening to the loch is all signalled by the mast, is the ethos of this design.”

Now the third group of Scottish Scenic Routes’ pilot projects has been launched (Monday 10 August 2015). The first competition site is at Banavie where Neptunes Staircase, the UKs longest flight of canal lock gates, forms the entrance to the Caledonian Canal and the Great Glen as well as providing one of the finest views of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain. The second site is at the Devil’s Elbow, a natural lay-by and stopping place on the A93 for walkers intending to access the four Munros that lie west of Glenshee. The third site is on the northern outskirts of Tomintoul, a small, planned settlement with strong claims to be the highest village in the Highlands, and is a disused quarry that is used as a stopping place to access the natural viewpoint to the River Avon and the Cairngorm mountain range beyond.

Each site has its own specific brief in response to the quite different and distinctive design challenge / opportunity it presents to competition entrants. Open to architects and landscape architects still within five years of having completed RIBA Part II or the achievement of Graduate landscape Architect status, the principal aim of the two-stage competition is to provide models /demonstration projects for new and innovative design and construction along Scotland’s Scenic Routes, thereby enhancing the country’s tourism infrastructure.



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