Spiral Inspiration: Draft 0.2 #DunansCastle Plans from Robin Kent

The second version of the sketch plans are in, designed to feed into a sustainable future for Dunans. The idea is that the ground and first storeys are used for functions and conferences, and storeys three and four are given over to accommodation for those who wish to stay here. We think the spiral staircase at the centre of the design will be extraordinary, as it is also a light well, creating a shaft of illumination through the building.

… and this is only possible because of two changes in the brief since draft v0.1. Firstly, we *think* a second staircase is unnecessary – or at least that is the advice ABC is giving us. And secondly, the interior walls are going to have to be stripped away. This means that we free up 10s of cubic metres of space … and space is becoming evermore valuable as we work on the business plan.

So before we feedback, we’ll be looking at the business plan and cash flows and seeing whether the raw capacity numbers add up. The other component I am presently working on is the market for conferencing – finding comparables, taking advice and not being too bullish … which is difficult given the prospect of the spiral (at the same dimension of the main turret) …

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Clearing Dunans Castle: the tender for the clearance and consolidation work has been issued.

This last week, the team behind the castle renovation, particularly Robin Kent Architecture and Conservation has issued the tender for the clearance and consolidation of the castle. This is an essential pre-requisite for the final design on the castle itself, as well as laying the groundwork for the renovation as well. We’re delighted to have reached this stage.

We’ve included the full tender document below (for those who are interested), as well as some of the indicative drawings, showing the type of interventions our Structural Engineer, Steve Ward of David Narro Associated has in mind.

The tender is here.

Investigating Dunans Bridge: Checking the underlying structure of our Thomas Telford-designed A-listed structure

This week the bridge is being investigated – carefully, slowly and with due regard for its age, possible infirmaties and status.

Our structural engineer, Steve Wood (David Narro Associates) , Heritage Consolidation, the contractors, our QS Gordon Brown (Brown & Wallace), our Planning advisor, John Paton (Paton Planning & Development) and of course our architect, Robin Kent (Robin Kent Architecture & Conservation), along with the scaffolders had a day working on and planning for the bridge – as well as the rest of the site.

Of course we took lots of photos, see below, and the initial conclusions were very interesting.

In the second trench (this sounds SO like Time Team) we discovered an extraordinary structural indicator that would, if confirmed by historical experts, mean that Thomas Telford did indeed design and build the bridge (there’s no extant paperwork). Needless to say Architect, Structural Engineer, Heritage Consolidation and ScottishLaird are all very, very excited.

We’ll post more via our Lairds and Ladies newsletter later next week!

Puffballs, Bats and Statements of Requirement: Building Momentum at Dunans this August

IMG_1697While the last couple of weeks have included a well-earned break, we have also been working hard on the next stage of the Dunans project. In fact, if truth be told, the whole thing is rather taking off!!

The image shows what look like puffball mushrooms on the main lawn at Dunans, but are in fact essential placemarkers for the laser survey AOC carried out on Thursday. The results of which we’ll post as soon as possible.

The same day, well, evening we had the first of our ecological surveys, with 6 bat spotters onsite until 11 pm, recording all the bats that spin about our belfry!

And this Friday, myself, Robin (our architect) and Sadie went through statement of requirements for castle and ScottishLaird office. These are essential pre-requisites before the designing of space begins – a design which will use the laser survey as its basis.

Reprint of Conservation Plan for Dunans now in stock – and as second runs go, they’re gorgeous!

… Well, I would say that wouldn’t I? Available from the ScottishLaird site, this book is the definitive account of the significance of Dunans, the bridge and the site, as well as what we have planned for the next five years. So while I continue cooking up my Special Sauce, you can get deep into the restoration project!

The Conservation Plan for Dunans, Lairds and Ladies edition is Published!


Both the commemorative edition for Lairds and Ladies, and the PDF version have finally been published on ScottishLaird.com. This marks the first stage in the consultation on the plan, and all answers will contribute to the development of our plans for the building, grounds and bridge.

The book of the Dunans Conservation plan is shaping up well …

This is one of my favourite spreads at the moment – with a picture taken in October of the full panorama of the top of the building.

We’re copy-editing at the moment and waiting to receive hi-res scans from the National Library of Scotland of some of the early Ordnance Survey maps – which have a surprising amount of the detail on them.

The book will be published in the next 6 weeks or so, with much fanfare and hullaballoo!