This site is situated beside Loch Lubnaig on the A84(T) between Callander and Strathyre. The major part of the site has recently been extensively landscaped by Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority as part of the Five Lochs strategy to provide parking and picnic areas. Further car parking, a new commercial food outlet and toilet facilities have also recently been provided a short distance up the road towards Strathyre.
The viewpoint nestles between the trees in a natural hollow in the landscape already enjoyed by visitors for its elevated position and views across Loch Lubnaig to Ben Ledi. It is accessible from the main car park on the site which provides the opportunity for a specific viewing position.
The Faerie Hollow
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.
Steps Into Water
The proposed intervention is a portal, a gateway to the landscape through which one passes to find a viewing platform which creates a full stop to the desire line towards the loch. This Small threshold and viewing point, forms a place to sit, shelter and take in the scenery.
The Simple Sculpted Concrete form of this Portal, reinterprets the Trilithon - a three stone megalith.
This robust, solid, precast concrete form, lends the structure visual weight and helps root it to the site, giving it a sense of permanency. Over time the structure will weather into its surroundings with vegetation growing around and onto its solid, carved mass helping it merge with the landscape.
The mass of the block has been sculpted in order to maximise the visibility of the structure when approached from land by vehicle, bike or foot and its visibility as a marker in the landscape when viewed from the loch. The threshold of the portal, surrounded by trees, and the view it frames is visible from the approach by road, this framed view then opens up to a wider view as you pass through the portal.
The chosen material of precast concrete, is established and long term, can be manufactured off site and requires little maintenance, making it ideal for this remote site. The potential use of a local supplier for these precast concrete elements, Plean Precast Limited Stirling based just 26 miles from the site, would contribute to a reduced transportation distance for these precast elements, the use of precast elements would help to keep onsite construction time and waste to a minimum.
A series of information graphics/text, cast into the concrete forms are envisioned for the site, in line with a signage strategy for the overall routes, this information will allow visitors to orientate themselves to the landmarks within the landscape which can be seen from the different aspects of the intervention.
This portal is all about view: towards Ben Ledi, Loch Lubnaig and to the wider landscape which lies beyond it.
We propose a light touch approach to the existing landscape, inserting the proposal and a small amount of permeable paving within the existing clearing of the site and then leaving the rest of the site as is. This permeable paving will facilitate on site drainage and soften the approach to the intervention with its mix of hard surface paving and soft landscape. The landscape and vegetation will begin to grow through the permeable paving and around the sides of the structure helping it merge with the landscape.
The introduced ground surface will take the form of a shaped precast concrete paver which will be laid in a pattern which allows for areas of both solid hard surface and mixed hard surface/planting.
Due to the climatic conditions experienced within the locality of the site, drainage and water runoff must be adequately dealt with. Slot drains added to both edges of the solid hard surface paving will deal with surface water runoff. The precast roof element of the portal will be cast to a fall, connecting to a hidden downpipe to shed water from the roof and avoid uneven weathering/water staining on the top and sides of the Trilithon.
The portal creates a new point of focus within the landscape, increasing visibility of the site when approached by road, and creates a point of reference above the shoreline when viewed from the loch.
Room With Two Views
A Room With A View is a proposal for a viewing shelter on the east coast of Loch Lubnaig - a place for pause and enjoyment of the dramatic landscape around Ben Ledi.
Designed like a good winter coat, the shelter is rugged on the outside but comfortable on the inside. Precast concrete panels set with timber grain will age with the landscape. The rough surface will develop a natural patina over time to help the shelter settle into its location.
The inside will have a lining of locally sourced larch battens stained a warm red/brown shade to provide a comfortable setting to enjoy the views.
A Room With A View has been designed to work within the wider Scottish Scenic Routes Strategy. It is hoped that the shelter will be recognised for providing a unique opportunity to experience the Scottish landscape and so become a stopping point in a wider tourist/architectural route across the region.
Jack Robert Green
Douglas Aitken Little