Sutherland Mercat




ARCHITECTURE: Future Building or Project


Helen Lucas Architects Ltd.
Urban Pioneers Ltd.


Wildland Ltd.


Located to the north of the village of Tongue, Sutherland, and lying close to the shores of the Kyle of Tongue, the site is the former home of Peter Burr’s Stores; a well-known general merchant and private transport company which widely served the region from 1909 to the 1980’s. Storage buildings, an atmospheric disused bakery and stonemason’s building, as well as the Historic Dunvarich Lodge have been incorporated where possible into the proposal.

The proposal seeks to renew and re-purpose Burr’s Stores as a vibrant village hub and tourist destination; a community-focused place of gathering for locals and new visitors alike. The investment into the North Coast 500 coastal route has ignited new global interest in the area and there is both a demand and need for a wider range of facilities and amenities to support the expanding tourist activities to the Kyle of Tongue, but also integrate successfully with the local community.

The buildings in this proposal will offer new and diverse functions to complement the existing businesses in Tongue; the filling station, events hall with a programme of cultural events (music/theatre/cinema); exhibition space for local craft makers and artists; pop-up for local growers; micro-brewery and shop with seasonal and locally made produce.

Built interventions set between and around existing buildings will form a renewed and enhanced pedestrian street extending along a north/south axis; from the site entrance with new filling station and shop to the south to Dunvarich House to the north. A destination for locals and visitors alike, focusing on creating a place for gathering; a collage of old and new buildings focused on forming a village ‘mercat’. Contemporary forms echo the characteristic rural vernacular structures in a carefully selected palette of complementary materials, with new materials such as cor-ten steel echoing the quirky, light industrial character of the extant buildings to form sensitive and fitting additions to the existing.

Buildings will be set within a designed landscape formed as a collection of character areas: Arrival; Village Square; Courtyards (sheltered, kitchen, accommodation; upper and lower); Burn and Woodland car park, which utilise strategic planting, water and hard materials as the backdrop to the buildings and to frame key site views to the landscape.