Explorations into Rural Landscapes

Led by Isabel Deakin in collaboration with Tilo Einert

Who? Ardrishaig Community Trust, a select group of Stage 1 students from the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art, and Isabel Deakin & Tilo Einert, studio tutors.

Where? Ardrishaig, Scotland

What? Through a 2 day intensive exploration into the village of Ardrishaig students developed a series of proposals to aid regeneration of the village. These formed a pop up exhibition in the village hall for the Gala Day in July 2016.

When? May – July 2016

Ardrishaig is situated on the west coast of Scotland on the edge of Loch Gilp midway between Campbelltown and Oban. It is the starting point for the Crinan Canal which safely links the west coast to the western isles.

A small village of only 4 houses prior to the development of the canal, Ardrishaig clings to the edge of the Gilp and is split in half by the route of the canal. In the 1970’s the village underwent significant alterations when sections of the main street were demolished to make way for a car park. This in part has led to the village’s disconnection with the coastline.

In 2009 under the guidance of the community, the Community Trust bought a 1/12 share in the local wind farm to the west of the village which will generate a source of income for the community over the next 20 years.

In recent years Ardrishaig has been involved in numerous ambitious development proposals although none have come to fruition. These have left the community wary of further community engagement programmes and discussion groups. As such the Community Trust sought the advice of the Mackintosh School of Architecture to develop a long term strategy for the regeneration of the urban landscape and village centre.

In addition to this the Canal Board are looking at the regeneration of the area and have recently undertaken the Crinan Canal Corridor Charrette which is took place at the end of April 2016. 

With the aid of a selected group of Stage 1 students we explored the nature of the existing context and its environs. This short project was intended to elicit creative awareness of the rural landscape and an understanding of the physical and spatial context of the village of Ardrishaig and its unique relationship to its spectacular surroundings.

The students were tasked with undertaking a thorough analysis of the locale and further to this were asked to prepare and present a proposal for regeneration for the village of Ardrishaig.

Over an intensive two days the students gathered data on the environment. This information was gathered via a collection of environmental tools provided by MEARU, at the Mackintosh School of Architecture.

In tandem with these environmental readings the students took texture readings along each of the section lines highlighting the diversity of the village. They also interviewed a number of locals at the weekly coffee morning and members of the community trust.

Further to this thorough analysis of the site the students were tasked with recognising an area of improvement and proposing an intervention/ alteration to the village.

Over a 2 week period the students each produced an A2 board which indicated their proposals for Ardrishaig. These were all exhibited at the Gala Day in Ardrishaig Village Hall on 23rd July 2016 alongside the outputs from the recent Charrette.

Student Participants and Photo Credits: Sam Alexander, Mate Gehberger, Graeme Mckinnon, William Mcroberts, Serene Nemer, Angus Riddell, Ben Rowley, Nichole-Ann Samson, Shih-Lin Tseng, Ingrid Wennemo, Fredrik Frendin & Wan Neoh.