'the gathering place' touches lightly on the scottish landscape to reconnect locals and river

'the gathering place' touches lightly on the scottish landscape to reconnect locals and river

a new public artwork for scotland

 

found along the banks of the ness river, in inverness, scotland, ‘the gathering place’ by the collaborative team of sans façon and KHBT seeks to bring people, art, architecture, and nature closer together. the public artwork touches lightly on the scottish landscape, to generate a new architectural landmark, as well as an ideal place for interaction and contemplation. 

 

shaped as a sweeping curve, the piece partially floats above the water, engaging in conversation with the iconic river and its natural surroundings. the location, the volumetry, as well as the materiality of the project are all specifically chosen in order to form a structure that ‘re-connects the city with the river, drawing out its stories, engendering a sense of place, and creating access to the river,’ as the creators explain. 

'the gathering place' touches lightly on the scottish landscape to reconnect locals and river
all images courtesy of robert omerod

 

celebrating the character of river ness

 

besides establishing a sculptural piece in the region, ‘the gathering place’ revisits the river’s social role within the fabric of the city, and celebrates its distinct character. the structure encircles a portion of the river along the edge of the water, transitioning from a bench, to a platform and lastly, a bridge opening towards the direction of loch ness and back towards the castle and heart of the city. 

 

‘the work in many ways is a monument to the social and natural heritage of the river, so important to keep and protect. it is a space to celebrate the sense of place, to interact, to enjoy the theatre of the river and to perhaps see the familiar anew,’ mentions tristan surtees, of sans façon (find more here). 

'the gathering place' touches lightly on the scottish landscape to reconnect locals and river

 

creating a minimal gesture for the area

 

the artwork is formed to maintain a low, horizontal presence so that it does not dominate the landscape while ensuring that the unobstructed views of the river remain in focus. the designers have chosen clashach stone as the main building material, for its beauty as well as its place of origin, since it can be sourced from the region, thus highlighting the concept of locality and community, once more.

 

‘after the intense research including the collection of many stories of from the people of inverness, it felt appropriate to create a minimal gesture that enhances the notion of the river being the main actor whilst creating a tangible connection between the spectators from both embankments,’ karsten huneck of KHBT (find more here) shares. 'the gathering place' touches lightly on the scottish landscape to reconnect locals and river

 

ensuring minimal impact on the natural surroundings 

 

given the artwork’s proximity to the river and the sensitivity of the site, the artists, engineers, and construction team worked closely with naturescot (formerly scottish natural heritage), SEPA, historic environment scotland, scottish forestry and land, as well as the flood risk management team to make sure that the structure will be able to withstand use and weather events with minimal or no impact on wildlife, natural habitats, or trees.

 

the project was realized with the help of beauly-based company simpsons builders, who undertook construction, and the people of inverness who actually participated in the design process themselves.'the gathering place' touches lightly on the scottish landscape to reconnect locals and river

'the gathering place' touches lightly on the scottish landscape to reconnect locals and river

'the gathering place' touches lightly on the scottish landscape to reconnect locals and river

 

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‘the gathering place’ touches lightly on the scottish landscape to reconnect locals and river
 
‘the gathering place’ touches lightly on the scottish landscape to reconnect locals and river
 
‘the gathering place’ touches lightly on the scottish landscape to reconnect locals and river
 

project info:

 

name: the gathering place
designed by: sans façon and KHBT
structural engineer: buro happold
client: highland council
location: river ness, inverness, scotland
photography: robert ormerod

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