Scottish Scenic Routes

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Architecture / landscape architecture competitions for the third pilot group of structures / installations to be built as part of the widely acclaimed Scottish Scenic Routes initiative was launched on Monday 10 August 2015. Information and full briefing materials for all three sites will be available from that date on the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre’s website.

This third group of competitions focuses on three different locations, one just north of Fort William and a short distance from the A82 on the ‘Road to the Isles’ (A830) on land owned by Scottish Canals, whilst the other two sites are within the Cairngorms National Park adjacent to the A93 and A939 respectively. 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 competitions 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. In doing so, the projects are intended to showcase the best of Scotland’s young design talent and to give the winning participants experience, mentoring and the chance to see these early career opportunities realized in full scale physical form. A further aim of the completed projects is to support employment and community economies in rural parts of the country.

The requirement for the first stage of each of the three competitions is for conceptual solutions only, these to be submitted in pdf format as a single outline proposal drawing at A1 equivalent size. Up to four entrants will be shortlisted for each of the three sites and invited to proceed to Stage Two. Those selected at this point will be required to develop their ideas in detail and to provide evidence that their designs are not only technically and financially robust, but can be fully delivered by the end of March 2016.

Entrants can choose to provide ideas for one more of the competitions. Information and full briefing materials for all three sites will be available from 10 August 2015 on the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre’s website. First stage entries for all three sites are to be submitted by 24 August 2015. There is no entry fee required from those wishing to take part in these competitions.

The winning architect for the pilot project group one site at Loch Lubnaig, Ruairidh Campbell Moir, sums up what the initiative has meant for him:

The Scottish Scenic Routes competition is a tremendous springboard into the profession and one that is a significant ‘leg-up’ into industry. A combination of the harsh economic climate, fewer potential commissions and an unbuilt portfolio of works all but slams the door shut on many young architects and landscape architects.

The sites identified and the competition brief offered a tantalizing opportunity to cut your teeth on a potentially live project. As competitions go, it has been very inclusive and also fair to the entrants by recognising the time and resources required by designers in order to produce a submission.

Personally I am excited at the prospect of numerous architectural interventions across Scotland that can enhance our appreciation or understanding of place. It can only be a good thing for Scotland’s economic and cultural development, both at home and overseas.

High-resolution images are available of all completed projects and can be obtained by emailing

The Scottish Scenic Routes initiative was inspired by Norway’s National Tourist Routes and is intended to embrace cycle, rail, pedestrian and water routes as well as key roads travelled by tourists and visitors in all parts of Scotland. The Norwegian project recognized the enhanced economic benefit benefits the country’s tourism sector could derive from developing a series of modern and architecturally distinct stopping places along the routes most popular with travellers heading to major landscape and cultural attractions.

  • The strategic objectives of the Scottish Scenic Routes initiative are –
    • To encourage more visitors to spend more time enjoying Scotland’s varied landscapes;
    • To create attractive visitor experiences by constructing site specific, high quality installations with strong visual impact;
    • To encourage visitors to leave their vehicles and experience landscape settings on foot;
    • To enhance and sustain rural communities and rural employment, with commensurate benefits to local services, schools, etc.
    • To create new opportunities for private sector investment in the tourism sector, e.g. new restaurants, hotels, etc;
    • To promote high quality design through the creation of opportunities for recently graduated architects and landscape architects;
    • To create opportunities to demonstrate and test new and innovative construction products and systems developed in Scotland.
  • The pilot stage of the Scottish Scenic Routes initiative began in mid-2013 and will conclude at the end of March 2016.
  • Three-year funding for the Scottish Scenic Routes pilot programme was secured from the Scottish Government in 2013.
  • In addition to the Scottish Government, the programme partners are:

Architecture + Design Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Edinburgh Napier University, Forestry Commission Scotland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs’ National Park Authority, Scottish Canals, Scottish Construction Innovation Centre, Scottish Natural Heritage, Sustrans, Transport Scotland and Visit Scotland.

Two of the three planned groups of design competitions have been completed, with all three winning projects (at the Falls of Falloch, Loch Lubnaig, and Inveruglas) from the first stage competitions now constructed and the two winning projects from the second stage competitions (at Corgarff and Laggan) due to start on site shortly.

As Found: Lost Practice

The As Found: Lost Practice exhibition was shown as part of the Scotland + Venice exhibition

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