A lot of our work is in the tourism sector, and a lot of it is located in remote parts of Scotland (…remote if you’re from Glasgow). There has been a sharp interest from land and business owners in these locations to provide innovative and one-off accommodation to satisfy market demand. Plenty of people have opined that the rise of the “camping pod” is a bubble that will result in gross over supply and lots of empty rooms. My opinion would be that the Scottish rural economy has been so under-developed for decades, relying on a very narrow range of visitors that either came to shoot the wildlife or see none of it from a coach. Neither demograph spending much time or more critically, much money in the wider rural economy. The sudden opening up of the landscape through the 2006 Land Reform (Scotland) Act has merely allowed the Scottish rural economy to begin to catch up with its European rivals - and lets not forget that tourism is a competitive game. A recent trip to the West coast of Ireland shows how far Scotland has to go to develop their tourism industry – Scotland has some of the best scenery in the world, some of the best food, drink and hospitality – it just needs people out there enjoying it and then telling all their friends…and they all need somewhere spectacular to stay. Which brings me on to our next project, pictured below. Its a series of architecturally one-off lodges located up in the tree canopy looking our over the Scottish landscape – we’ll not say where for now as we are in the pre-app process but lets just say that it’s a stunning location - and before anyone else says it, a tip of the hat to one of my favourite buildings; The Goulding House by Ronnie Tallon
Its been a pretty quiet summer here, as most summers are in the building trade. We’d had some time off; Lewis has gone to Lewis and I’ve gone to Orkney – nothing tropical for us (not while the pound is worth less than an old crumpled Drachma) and both trips were pretty relaxing. The past few weeks seem like years as we have been solely doing warrant queries across a wide range of projects, from Type 23a Bothies to a £3 million industrial scheme. It is an endlessly frustrating experience and takes an inordinate amount of time – I’d like to loudly blame the local authority’s building standards departments for this - but it’s not their fault that their budgets have been slashed to preserve front line services. I wish someone further up the chain would realise how damaging it is to the economy to have projects tied up in a woefully underfunded statutory approvals system. In the meantime, we’re just getting on with it and beginning to prepare for our next round of projects for technical design. Most of them are starting on-site in January 2019 and are shown below. These consist of a very big house, a big house, a holiday lodge and a bothy – all of these projects are now in the detail design stage; I’m trying to find the elusive balance where all of the office’s projects are at different stages. Elusive.
So, after a long and tortuous winter of being on site through everything the weather could throw at us we are now finally basking in baking sunshine - and nothing is on site. Plenty of things all tee’d up and ready, plenty of things at tender stage but nothing giving us a reason to go out on a sunny day and do a site visit. However as plenty projects are finished - such as Lochend shown above, we still have an excuse to get out!