ISLE OF ERISKA
An island offers true escape – a haven from the rest of the world.
The Isle of Eriska –nestled in the rugged west coast to the edge of the mouth of the Great Glen – evokes all of the romance an island can offer in both its beautiful setting and the journey to reach it. The approach to the island is scenic, after traveling through the highlands and across the Connel Bridge you turn off the main roads and travel through low lying pastoral land on single track roads, screened with birch and beech trees until reaching the gates.
The track then meanders down to the shore, where a single crossing AnDoirlinn over the Bailey Bridge, an Edwardian cast iron and timber bridge, all builds the anticipation of a picturesque highland retreat - remote, secluded, hard to reach.
Crossing the bridge, the winding drive passes through dense woodland, leading to a clearing in the trees where the first glimpse, across a rolling lawn, of Eriska House is revealed.
An addition to the main house should respond to the same influences of high Baronial architecture - using references of the castle and the gothic influences of balanced symmetry to create an ordered and rich building. A contemporary piece with its own qualities that offers accommodation to rival the rooms in the main house, grand yet comfortable, and not an ‘annex’ or a secondary series of rooms attached by a link corridor.
Organised around a new kitchen and gourmet dining space offering the previously listless East facing rooms in the house a fresh appeal with aspect to a new structured terrace space. The current dining room can be used as breakfasting room in the morning, a library space during the day, a cocktail bar in the evening, allowing the new space to be focussed entirely on fine dining entirely.
Using the same articulation of volumes that the main house employs the new bedrooms can be arranged in such a way as to maximise privacy and aspect of each new room. Access is made by carving out the original courtyard of the building to create a great hall. Entering the hotel into a clear reception, guests can then enter the Main Hall of the house which can become more of a focal point for guests to linger by the fire and enjoy a whisky, or enter into the Great Hall, a grand vaulted reception space which can be used for a variety of functions.
By mirroring the main hall of the old house the new rooms evoke the same experience for the guest as they climb the stairs from the new great hall to their room.
The architecture of the new rooms is such that the aspect and orientation is like the old house, so that no overlooking occurs maintaining privacy and seclusion. The views are out to the trees, the terrace, the lawns or the wider landscape. Externally this organisation means that the massing of the new rooms echoes the composition of the old house and has a real sculptural quality that unfolds and undulates as the guests promenade around the grounds.
The new pontoon mooring offers the opportunity to create a marina, giving access by boat to the North of the island. A collection of accommodation positioned above the marina, taking in the expansive views across Glaceriska Bay towards Appin, creates a sense of place and provides some orientation for those arriving by boat.
The pavilion is arranged in a linear bar, angled to take in the views across the bay and to omit any overlooking, merging into the hillside towards the East. An expansive veranda provides a private external but sheltered terrace to each of the lodges evoking the architecture of pavilions which sits appropriately in the position overlooking the golf course and the marina.
Self contained accommodation is arranged along the building, which terrace up the sloping terrain. Thick stone gabion walls are used to root the building in the landscape with an open timber frame resting on top which allows the large window openings and carries the overhanging eaves of the roof structure.
Isolated refuge capitalising on the magnificent views to the Morven Hills in the West, Great Glen in the North and Glencoe to the East. Self contained accommodation for up to six people organised around a warming hearth surrounded by thick, stone walls under a floating timber canopy.
The retreats are designed to be hidden amongst the trees and scrubland on the ridge running North-South on the Eastern shore of the island ‘CeannGarbh’. Shielded from view they gain private vistas out from their perch, with a generous terrace sheltered by the overhanging roof canopy guests can enjoy the luxury of the hot tub in seclusion.
Designed to be stand-alone or banked to create small ‘colonies’, the retreats can be strategically placed around the ridge so that are glimpsed only distantly by anyone other than their guests. By using the thick stone walls and focussed aspect privacy is assured whether they are arranged adjacent to one another or are set individually in the landscape. The design can easily be scaled up or down to accommodate
An idyllic sanctuary placed among the trees in the denser wooded areas to the South of the island. Much like a tree in the forest the tree house is vertically stratified so that the views from each layer can take advantage of the surrounding woodland.
On the lowest level is the forest floor, dense in the spring and summer with flowering Blaeberry and Tresses with rich green Ferns with the dappled sunlight filtering through from above. In Autumn and winter the forest opens and the heathers and brackens vivid rusty reds and purples flourish.
The middle level rises though the tree trunks, with silver streaked birch trees rising from the undergrowth, with bright shoots of green emerging from early shoots. The straight, tall Scots pines, sometimes covered in yellow and blue lichen, are the playground of Pinemartin and Red Squirrels.
Rising up to the upper level is the tree canopy, this is the area of most diverse change through the seasons. From Spring buds to thick green Summer plumage into the burning ochre and red of Autumn and finally Winter, leaving just the sturdy evergreen pines so that through the canopy are glimpses of distant views.
Although formed within a single vertical building each of the three layers is approached and accessed separately through a winding path in the woodland, meaning the guests peel off to their own from door before catching their very own glimpse of the Tree House.