James Kirk Architecture
© James Kirk 2010-2016
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Glenshee Owerblaw

A ledge to appreciate views, prepared for the Scottish Scenic Routes Competition

Glenshee Owerblaw - Winter

The experience upon reaching the site at Devil’s Elbow is visceral. The Glenshee Owerblaw provides a similarly stirring response to the setting, a ledge to appreciate the magnificence of the views down Glenshee; a proposal with the appearance of an ephemeral, seasonal object, belying its robust construction.

The scheme proposes a vantage point from which to survey the landscape, establishing a position to sit, pause and reflect upon the forces conjured within the valley, recalling the uses of the surrounding landscape, whilst positioning itself as a complement and contrast to the rugged mountains adjacent.

The proposal is a subtle intervention on the landscape suggestive of a light covering of snow on the rocks beneath it, the smooth form and finish evocative of this seemingly fixed but dynamic landscape. It touches lightly the ground below, but is immediately identifiable as a staging point for drivers, cyclists and hill-walkers, or even eagles and red deer passing around the Cairnwell.

An upturned corner to the ledge identifies the site in all weather, visible from passers-by on the road, projecting high above thick snow even in the depths of winter whilst being small and subtle enough to reduce the impact on views across the valley. The upturned corner adjacent to the curved bench facing down the valley also provides some shelter from the wind, as well as a position (on the rear facing the road) for an interpretive panel to describe and explain the landscape and history of this once-treacherous pass. The ledge itself, which is formed in thin ferrocement is largely flat across its accessible surface, allowing easy movement for those who cannot negotiate the existing rocky terrain.

The Glenshee Owerblaw is a gentle and reflective intervention on the rocky landform, providing a protected place to observe the spectacular landscape above and below. It has minimal impact on the existing terrain, demonstrating a quiet modesty before the magnificence of its surrounds.

Glenshee Owerblaw

A structure is to be built in ferrocement, a strong, durable and lightweight construction method originally developed for the construction of boat hulls, but now more widely used in construction due to its versatility. Ferrocement is the precursor of reinforced concrete, and the material affords significant durability, with a smooth, joint-free finish.

James Kirk Architecture
© James Kirk 2010-2016
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