What Taigh Bainne (‘the dairy’), a reconstructed, redesigned bothy
Where Isle of Eriskay, Outer Hebrides
Architect Ruairidh Moir, BARD Ailteir
Size 30m 2
Structural engineer Maciver Consultancy Services
Main contractor Paul MacInnes, Coastal Homes
At the age of 14, Ruairidh Moir set off on a 56-mile journey south from his home on the isle of Lewis to the tiny island of Eriskay, between South Uist and Barra. Armed with his father’s prized 35mm SLR camera, he gazed out from a viewing point above a promontory and photographed all he could see, including an ancient bothy on the shores of the neighbouring croft.
He could never have known it then, but many years later those ruins would become an award-winning project for him and his team at BARD. “The place was striking,” says Moir today.
He might be based in Glasgow, but his Hebridean connections remain strong, and he stays on his family croft whenever he’s home in Lewis. “We undertake a significant part of our work in the islands, so I go back frequently, which is really wonderful. There are distinct cultural nuances between the Uists and Lewis and Harris and I love working across both.”
This project started in January 2018 when BARD was drawing up plans from warrant stage onwards for a client whose house had been designed by another architect. The client, Andy Laverty, formed a close working relationship with Moir and the main contractor, Paul MacInnes of Coastal Homes. Laverty pointed out the old bothy on his croft and asked Moir how he thought it might be repurposed.
Walking through the rubble, the men conceived a fleeting idea of how to place a building within the walls, making best use of the light, the views and what remained of the stonework. Moir measured up, returned to his studio and drew up the concept from those first impressions, then presented it to Laverty.
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