Scott Brownrigg has been engaged to design The Barony Wellness Eco therapy resort and sensitively develop the site in place of the now demolished Barony Colliery near Auchinleck, East Ayrshire, Scotland.
The scheme focuses on mental and physical wellbeing, both within the built and the natural environment. The masterplan concept consists of an eco-therapy wellness retreat that aims to provide a positive and relaxing environment for the purposes of resilience and recovery. The scheme utilises themes of clean and renewable energy paired with a considered attitude towards history and existing landscape. The proposal includes a total of 324 accommodations, with various ancillary buildings and ecological sites that will generate produce and research within an ambitious rewilding programme that will further enhance the naturally regenerated forest. The architectural attitude to the site involves a sensitive approach to the existing, and wherever possible, buildings will only lightly touch the ground, causing minimal disturbance to the natural environment through the use of raised platforms, columns and pilotis.
The accommodations have been designed so that they integrate within their respective landscapes. Meanwhile, the variety in typology contributes to the inclusive principles of the masterplan; with different group sizes and family clusters providing access to a diverse range of people.
The public buildings are dispersed in three hubs throughout the site, each located sensitively in response to the existing landscape to ensure the overall legibility of the development. Within these hubs, there is further opportunity to celebrate local culture, providing ample opportunity to both the visitors and the local community to engage and benefit from the scheme. Each building is envisioned as a stand-alone pavilion with a specific function, which aims to support local social programmes, food and produce provenance, and a new circular economy.
All buildings are conceived to be constructed in timber – either as CLT, timber frame or laminated timber structures for the wider span elements. These will be heavily insulated and finished with only natural materials. They all utilise passive environmental techniques, appropriate orientation, shading/light penetration values, natural ventilation.
Some have PV’s, some green roofs (for biodiversity/ green corridors and sustainable drainage) and there is an opportunity to utilise existing ground water within the previous below ground mines for geothermal energy.
The Productive Landscapes Hub focuses on both research and production through provision of space for jewellery making, distillery, biomedicine and cosmetics research and more. Additionally, the hub provides vertical farming, which would be used as produce for the restaurant.
Meanwhile, the Projective Ecologies Hub is conceived as space for research and education such as flora and fauna research, forestry, habitat and water management and more. A state-of-the- art biodome structure and a suspended board walk provide visitors with the opportunity to take a closer look and interact with the biophillics and vertical growing. Gabion basket walls act as thresholds between the different functions and create distribution space for services. Water run-off, capture and re-use is not just an employed system, but is showcased as part of the visitor and educational experience.
The architectural concept is further supported by an ambitious landscape strategy. The landscaping strategy utilises existing birch trees on the site, whilst introducing further native species to enhance diversity and provide an opportunity for local wildlife to thrive. There are two predominantly open areas – these are intended to be retained
and enhanced as neutral grassland areas to support existing animal habitat, such as a rare European butterfly found on site. The north part of the site will be taken up by linseed fields, orchard and herb gardens, while areas to the bottom of the site will include reed beds and swales to facilitate water run-off and grey water recycling.
Other sustainable strategies include use of car-free zone past the reception sequence, with low-carbon transport such as golf carts and bicycles being preferred mode of transport to the different accommodations. Moreover, the use of modular construction and natural materials such as charred timber, will significantly reduce waste and minimize visual impact. The placement of each building takes into consideration the immediate context – leaving the maximum amount of existing landscape and ecology intact as the projects most valuable asset and environmental collateral.
The energy strategy for the Barony consists of a combination of clean sources, such as green roofs, photovoltaics and renewable energy.
Overall, the project is set to make a significant contribution to the community and economy.
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