The Falls of Shin have long been a favourite beauty spot in Sutherland, with visitors flocking to see migrating salmon leap up the picturesque waterfall. In 2013, the on-site visitor centre was destroyed by fire, and the local community rallied round to replace it with a striking new hub. The Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust purchased the site and commissioned local architect CH Architecture to come up with a new design.
The new building is inspired by the image of a leaping salmon, with a tailpiece sculpture serving as an entrance portal to the curving Douglas fir loggia. The café and visitor centre forms the fish head and features a circular fish eye roof light. Russwood rough sawn Scotlarch® provides an ideal cladding to match the woodland setting. The larch was laid board on board, with cross laminated timber panels forming the spine wall and roof deck, supported on glulam beams and columns. To speed up construction, contractor William Gray Construction prefabricated the external timber frame offsite. The Scotlarch® was finished with a SiOO:X treatment, ensuring the timber will weather at an enhanced rate and settle into its surroundings.
The new centre not only offers a more modern and attracting visitor centre, but the outdoor loggia also offers a space for farmers markets, stalls and exhibitions, making it a valuable community space.