A short esquisse to develop the visitor centre was organised as a fun exercise at the Borders Architects Group AGM.
Loch of the Lowes is a located near Dunkeld in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. The tranquil loch forms part of a reserve which covers 98 hectares and is managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. A new visitor centre would replace existing facilities, offering an education centre, shop and cafe that will help celebrate the natural environment.
Inspired by the reflection of the surrounding landscape on the loch, Aitken Turnbull designed two interlocking circular pavilions with an inverted roof. Located out on the water, the building rests on stilts and is clad in locally-sourced timber, allowing it to settle quietly within the landscape.
The Loch of the Lowes visitor centre would be one of only three visitor centres operated by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the other two being Montrose Basin and Falls of Clyde. Although Ospreys are the star attraction at the reserve, hundreds of birds use the loch year round with wildfowl numbers peaking in early winter when up to 3000 migrant greylag geese roost. In addition, goldeneyes, mallards, goosanders, wigeons, teals, tufted ducks and great crested grebes breed near the hide. The loch and surroundings woods also support a diverse range of wildlife including fallow, roe deer, otters and red squirrels. Recently, a beaver has also made the loch his home which is exciting news as the beaver was once part of Scotland’s ecology.