By James Reader
The winners of the first Design Awards in the Cairngorms National Park are the Cairngorm Brewery (Aviemore), New House at Eastern Tombain (near Grantown-on-Spey), and The Woodman’s Hut (pictured, in Nethy Bridge).
The Woodman’s Hut, which was designed by David and Valery Dean and constructed by Rob Clarke and Dave Robson, is a small eco-retreat in the Lazy Duck campsite and hostel complex. The Hut was handcrafted and most of the timber for the furniture, windowsills and casements is made from a 260-year-old Caledonian pine tree on the site which had to be taken down due to snow damage. It also features a composting toilet, an outdoor shower, a wood fuel stove (which uses thinnings from the woodland on site), and a whisky barrels which collects rainwater for all water requirements (except drinking). Lighting is also provided by candles and a solar-powered, 12-volt LED system.
"We are thrilled that the judges have seen fit to recognise such a small, low budget, highly eco-conscious vacation dwelling," states the Woodman’s Hut team.
The other winners included the Cairngorm Brewery, who expanded to create a new bottling plant, storage facilities and office space, and the New House at Eastern Tombain, which was built on a ruined steading and uses stone from the ruin on the site.
All 56 entries were considered by their use of locally available and sourced materials, their use of local people in the design and construction of the development, environmental friendliness, how it contributes to the Cairngorms National Park, how it relates to its surroundings, affordability, and creativity and innovation.
The panel was chaired by architect Roddy Langmuir, joined by architect Ben Tindall, and also included Roger Clegg, Chairman of the Association of Cairngorms Communities (AoCC), CNPA board convener Duncan Bryden, and vice convener of the CNPA Planning Committee Peter Argyle.
“The judging panel have been really impressed by the interest in the awards scheme and through this the interest in what good design can do for individuals, for businesses, for communities and for visitors to the Cairngorms National Park,” explains Roddy Langmuir. “The really valuable part of design quality is not the more obvious, superficial qualities of materials and surfaces but how well a building fits its intended purpose and how well it relates this purpose to the big landscape of the Park. Our award winners are exemplary in showing how a passion for the place can inspire an excellent project.”