The Kilcreggan Competition ‘A future for rural communities’ intended to produce ideas which could be replicated in other rural areas to help areas keep families and businesses and attract young people to live and work. The small village competition, Kilcreggan is 40 miles outside of Glasgow, recieved 56 entries and chose Konishi Gaffney Architects as the winning design. Focusing on designing a blueprint for the survival and growth of rural communities. Konishi Gaffney Architects’ proposals provided “some particularly innovative and well considered events along a new foreshore promenade, which could form a template for other rural communities to reinvigorate their communities by improving the amenity of their settlements and making them attractive as a destination for others”.
The judging panel including GIA president and Page and Park architect Ian Hamilton, Sheppard Robson architect David Ross and Academy of Urbanism director, professor Kevin Murray. Lucid Architecture was awarded second prize and Gordon Murray Architects third. The competition was held in partnership with Roseneath Peninsula West Community Development Trust and sponsored by Community Links Scotland.
Director Kieran Gaffney said: “Our idea is that the design can be staged to suit the client’s funding – starting with small scale interventions. We hope that this would be a catalyst for some of the Community Development Trust’s more ambitious proposals and help define Kilcreggan as an interesting and artistic destination.”
For Kilcreggan to work as the brief requires there needs to be more-to-do. More-to-do means visitors to support local shops and enterprise making the place desirable and sustainable for families to come and live and work.
There is clearly no desire to turn the village into a weekend village full of holiday lets so more-to-do means more things to do on a day trip.
What better destination for a day trip from Glasgow and beyond than one reached quickest by ship and ferry? Our proposal is to develop Kilcreggan through sensitive, place related artistic interventions and new activities strung along the shoreline.
The edge between sea, land and air
We propose an artistic boardwalk between Kilcreggan Bay, past the pier and the Town Hall, West to the Fire Station, on the way to Cove. The boardwalk hugs the coast taking one into currently inaccessible areas, encouraging a sense of exploration and appreciation for the place. Straddling the foreshore in parts along the high & low tide lines creates a relationship with water that was previously out of reach. The boardwalk takes you to explore the rocks, emphasising the geological make-up of the place, and where accessible terrain opens up the walkway dissipates, while maintaining the route.
Strung along the boardwalk are a number of interventions:
1 The Beach & Pool
Scotland’s Highland Boundary Fault Line splits the Rosneath peninsula from Rosneath, southwest to Kilcreggan. A clear, visible rupture in the land is the result, where to the north we find dark dalradian rocks, and to the south fine, red sandstone. We propose that the visible fault continue into the waters of Kilcreggan Bay, where a slab of dark stone forms an imported white sand beach, and over the fault line a tray of red sandstone forms a shallow saltwater pool.
The proposed beach is 80m long by 12m wide and filled with clean sand, providing lots of space for sunbathing and for children to make sand castles and play. The size and volume, 1500 tonnes, allows tractors to access for regular cleaning and maintenance whilst maintaining the sand against tidal erosion. The proposed pool is the same length and width, offset to express the fault line which defines its location. It employs an osmotic membrane as a filtration system to ensure clean water (such membranes are widely being used in large scale energy turbines in Norway). The smaller volume of water in the pool will allow it to warm in summer encouraging swimmers & paddlers while the use of the two types of stone give this installation a sense of mass and of belonging.
2 An arrival point
The walkway travels underneath the existing pier structure, where stairs will lead you up onto its surface. The integration of the existing pier with our proposal is very important, as boats are what will give Kilcreggan the majority of its day-trippers, and are such an important part of its heritage.
A new pier master’s office is proposed to mark the embarkation point and with stairs that continue up to a vantage point which lets you spot incoming boats, take in views across the Clyde and peer along
the lengths of the boardwalk. The tower has the potential to become a glowing beacon on dates of special occasion, attracting visitors from across the water.
Moving the old hut (and toilets behind) will allow the pier to spill directly into the village giving a sense of arrival and civic place.
3 The Echo chamber
Steps cut from the existing rocks lead the viewer into an open topped, corten steel lined concrete corridor which heads straight out to sea. The sides begin to rise and the space to narrow as the viewer descends along the slope of the sea bed. At the end there is a more open space, where the tops of the walls are flush with the level of water, the floor is damp with lapping waves spilling over the sides (a sump drain and pump getting rid of excess water when required). Watery echoes fill the space and present the viewer with a surreal experience to take home.
The Sound box proposal is an example of the kind of artistic intervention that could build on the location and Cove’s reputation as a destination within the Arts in Scotland. With Cove Park’s well established residencies, we think that our proposal will help to promote the reputation of Kilcreggan as an artistic destination.
4 Launch spot & warming hut
Kilcreggan is an ideal location for water sports and sailing. Heading into the mouth of Loch Long we propose a kayak launch pad that spills from the timber walkway. The vantage point into the loch also adds the opportunity to view the peninsula coast for those without a kayak.
A warming hut is nestled on the edge of the beach, marking the location and giving kayakers shelter and a place to end their journey (in the great tradition of the Scottish bothy). Somewhere to warm up after rolling practice in the firth there may also be a tap with cold water to wash down the kayaks. This hut will also supply a point of reflection and shelter for locals and landlubbing visitors alike.
5 Picnic spot
Picnicking is an activity which seems most appropriate to the Victorian heritage and pace of life in Kilcreggan. We think the humble picnic has the potential to mark Kilcreggan as a day trip destination par-excellence. There are numerous places to stop and rest along the boardwalk, each with a clear, comfortable area to relax, but at the Fire Station the walkway splits into branches which mingle with trees and terrain. These form places for seating, eating, relaxing and reflecting. The picnic by the sea, as we have seen, is the social meeting point and glue for informal and spontaneous get-togethers between residents.
Small areas of new parking is proposed in various locations along the length of the walkway, kept low in number and disparate so as not to impact on the village or the splendour of the place.