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Atlantic Islands Centre

Atlantic Islands Centre
The Isle of Luing is one of the Scottish slate islands that lie scattered in the Firth of Lorne a few miles south of Oban. Largely unknown, the beautiful and unspoilt island was visited by relatively few people, but that has changed with the opening of the new Atlantic Islands Centre in the village of Cullipool.

A £1.25 million initiative by the Isle of Luing Community Trust focuses on the rich diversity of people, wildlife, landscapes and heritage of Luing and the surrounding Atlantic Islands of Argyll and provides an exciting new visitor destination for the many tourists that flock to this part of Scotland’s stunning west coast.

Along with the neighbouring islands this group of Slate Islands became world famous for the quality of the roofing slate they produced and were known as the ‘the islands that roofed the world’. Slate from their quarries was exported to America, the West Indies, New Zealand and Australia as well as being used on many notable buildings in Scotland.

Dramatically perched on the edge of one of the flooded quarries on the site of the former Engine House in the Conservation village of Cullipool, the new building reflects the scale and character of the original quarry building and the nearby houses.

The Atlantic Islands Centre utilises a similar palette of traditional materials to create a simple composition that sits comfortably within the village context and blends easily with the vernacular architecture.

A large expanse of glass to the south west corner creates a bright and open interior and allows visitors to take advantage of the spectacular views while enjoying locally produced food in the café. Changing exhibitions and a programme of art and cultural events occupy the flexible space which also hosts concerts, theatre, social events and conferences. The original lens from the Stevenson lighthouse on Fladda is featured, and other exhibition material highlights the Corryvreckan whirlpool and its stories.

Upstairs provides a base for the Luing History Group who for 12 years have been recoding, conserving and interpreting all aspects of the island’s culture, heritage and social history. An ever changing exhibition of artefacts, archives and resources tell the story of Luing and its neighbouring islands. A large glazed dormer gives views to the Garvellachs, Jura, Mull and Colonsay.

Uniquely the large, deep quarry pond is used to fuel a water source heat pump. Three 30m loops are suspended in the pond to provide both underfloor heating and hot water.

The result of many years research and planning, the Atlantic Islands Centre project has already made a major contribution to the regeneration of the fragile island community. It provides a much needed community hub and visitor attraction to address social isolation. Above all it provides a place where present and future generations can experience and enjoy a small part of Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage.
PROJECT: Atlantic Islands Centre
LOCATION: Cullipool, Isle of Luing
CLIENT: Isle of Luing Community Trust
ARCHITECT: Shauna Cameron Architect Ltd
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: John Peden Associates
Atlantic Islands Centre
Atlantic Islands Centre
Main Contractor:  MacLeod Construction Ltd

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