Garrison House, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae is a Category B listed building dating from the mid-18th century that was in constant use right up until 2001, when it was almost destroyed by fire. This HLF-funded project concerned the full restoration and rejuvenation of the building, the stabilisation and repair of the surviving walls and the introduction of new contemporary internal spaces. The diverse facilities the building now provides include a one-stop shop, outreach college, museum, doctors surgery, café, library, council offices and community meeting place.

The key challenge for the project from an engineering point of view was the condition of the surviving stone masonry walls and their ability to act as the primary structural elements of the building. Great care was taken to investigate their integrity and to establish how they had suffered from the fire. Happily, we were able to establish that generally only low-key traditional repairs and enhancements were required, with a small number of more significant structural repairs, such as the introduction of restraints to some of the tall gable walls.

New floors were inserted into the shell. Great effort was taken to achieve slim, long-spanning floors that would allow the realisation of the dynamic spaces that were the key aspect of the Architect and Client’s vision for the building.

The focus of the new internal spaces is the internal atrium and, within that, the main feature staircase. Complex modelling of this stair resulted in an extremely simple and deceptive structure that was simple to fabricate in which the treads and balustrade act as a single, vertically-spanning element.


Roses Design Awards 2008: Best Re-use of a Listed Building - Winner

Glasgow Institute of Architects Awards 2008: Repair and Restoration Category in Natural Stone Awards - Winner

Civic Trust Awards 2009 - Commendation

Scottish Design Awards 2009: Re-use of a Listed Building and Public Building Categories - Shortlisted

BURA Awards for Community Inspired Regeneration - Highly Commended

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Awards: Community Benefit Category - Commendation