The Rowardennan Visitor Facility, with its gently curving walls and swept roof form, sits in a tranquil woodland setting on a small rise between Loch Lomond and the foot of Ben Lomond. The building straddles the path from the pier that leads to the ben and forms part of The West Highland Way; visitors can walk straight through or stop for shelter, toilets, changing facilities, binstore and an exhibition area providing local information. A park warden is also based there.
Designed to be in sympathy with its setting, the building is constructed mainly using locally sourced materials. The peg-jointed oak frame, assembled from trees felled within a few hundred yards of the site, supports a timber roof structure covered with re-used Aberfoyle slates. There are no damp-proof membranes in the building so that it is a completely breathing structure, the floor being lime concrete on a free-draining stone base. The low stone walls are built off the formation level in lime mortar. Above the stone base the external walls are formed in traditional cob: clay, sand and straw mixed together and forked onto the wall head, trampled in place and trimmed. They are finished externally with lime harling and lime wash, and internally with clay plaster. Natural oil based paints are used on the joinery work.
A principal function of the Visitor Facility is the provision of toilets. A composting toilet system was chosen as there is no mains drainage in the vicinity and a soak-away system was unsuitable because of the danger of contamination of nearby Loch Lomond. Although this system has been used in other countries for some years, this was the first public building in Scotland to go through the full Building Warrant process for such a system.
This project was carried out in association with Richard Shorter Architects.
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