Following an invited competition, 7N Architects were appointed by Blairgowrie and Rattray Regeneration Company (BARRC) to design a new visitor centre on the River Ericht. The building will provide a focus for BARRC’s regeneration initiative creating a showcase for natural energy, ecology and local producers. It is the initial phase of a long term strategy for the river glen which 7N are developing with LMC landscape architects. The project is being funded by the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund (TCRF) and will provide flexible accommodation for exhibition, cafe and retail spaces in order to create a vibrant visitor attraction for Blairgowrie and Rattray and a multi-purpose resource for the local community.
The building is located on the footprint of the former Meikle Mill with the remnant mill walls retained to form an integral part of the building and create a connection with the history of the place. The new structure will appear to gently rest on the solid mass of the existing stone walls and an elegant blade roof floats over the main space to cantilever over the continuous terrace which addresses the river. A solid stone wall addresses Lower Mill Street with integral carved artwork. The entrance penetrates this wall leading into the principal internal space which is a single timber-lined volume with a continuous wall of glazing allowing visitors to directly engage with the river landscape. The hard outer shell and soft interior are contrasted to emphasise the warmly inviting timber interior which will be enriched by daylight and will emit a warm glow after dark.