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Commercial Glen Coe hotel plan sparks backlash

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October 30 2017

Commercial Glen Coe hotel plan sparks backlash
A bid significantly expand the footprint of Glen Coe’s Kings House Hotel has elicited a backlash led by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and the John Muir Trust owing to the potential adverse visual impact on the popular beauty spot.

Covell Matthews architects are seeking permission on behalf of Black Corries Estates to redevelop the historic hotel, built in 1755 to cater for government troops and travellers, by removing dilapidated 1960’s built extensions and building a larger 60-room extension.

This would allow the hotel to operate as a four-star attraction, capable of accommodating more passing trade from the busy A82.

Outlining their approach the architects observed: “The geometry of the proposal uses the original inn building as its starting point with the new build hotel projecting along a north westerly axis in alignment with the adjacent River Etive. The massing is broken down with the projection of single storey public spaces on the ground floor housing restaurants and bars.”

“This distinctive design draws its reference from the surrounding environment; following a mountain range to generate its roof profile.”

Finished in Siberian larch with a granite base course and slate tile roof the project has elicited a strong rebuke from the NTS; which has objected on the basis of an adverse impact on the built heritage and landscape of the area owing to an annex that would ‘dwarf’ the original kings House.

A previous planning consent from Benjamin Tindall Architects was deemed by the current owners to be commercially unviable.

7 Comments

Matt
#1 Posted by Matt on 30 Oct 2017 at 16:52 PM
A long, low sleek roofline might have pulled it off better. Do me a favour, the old 'roofline to reflect the topography' trick never works...especially here! NTS are 100% correct.
willothewisp
#2 Posted by willothewisp on 31 Oct 2017 at 08:19 AM
The existing historic inn is in the process of being demolished......
Nairn's Bairn
#3 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 31 Oct 2017 at 12:37 PM
The old hotel was knackered and not listed, so fair enough that it should come down.

It's a difficult site to design for - should one try to recreate a traditional West Highland 'whitehouse' style to replicate what was there, or go for something more bold? The architects have chosen the latter, and while some may argue that it's over-sized, from the A82 (average speed 80mph) it's not really going to impinge - you'll mostly see slate.

How it appears close up to hotel residents and passing WHW walkers will depend on it being properly detailed and finished.

As long as it serves decent grub, has a big log fire and no longer smells of damp then it'll be a useful step forward.
MV
#4 Posted by MV on 31 Oct 2017 at 15:23 PM
I don't mind the roof, although I agree that the reason for it, as noted above, is poor. What I don't get is the window locations. The windows don't relate in any way to the roof pitches/ theoretical structural lines, therefore the composition of the elevation looks completely wrong. Fix that and you'll be 15% there.
Nairn's Bairn
#5 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 1 Nov 2017 at 08:04 AM
#1 The NTS do indeed have a point that the extension dwarfs what they're retaining of the original hotel, which begs the question why? Get rid of the whole lot and (in the above image at least) the problems of scale are somewhat addressed.

The John Muir Trust seem to object to every development near 'wild land'. While this blanket approach is admirably thorough, it only serves to water down the impact of their objections in cases where it would really matter.
david hogg
#6 Posted by david hogg on 1 Nov 2017 at 11:02 AM
I feel a bit sorry for the architects. The client obviously can't afford to do a decent job but wants to take advantage of the existing planning use and land ownership. My only conclusion about the odd fenestration pattern is that the architects drew up a rational elevation, groaned in horror, and thought "we must do something with this, OK we'll have a zany window pattern" Been there, done that, but not in the majesty of Rannoch Moor.
simonw
#7 Posted by simonw on 1 Nov 2017 at 15:41 PM
Inappropriate and insensitive

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