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Croft 3, Isle of Mull

Words:
RIAS Jury

A ruined croft on the Isle of Mull has been converted by fardaa to expand a busy local restaurant in a National Scenic Area, with an exceptional design that wins a 2024 RIAS Award

Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour

2024 RIAS Award

Croft 3, Isle of Mull
fardaa for private client 
Contract value: £290,000
GIA: 98 m
Cost per m2: £2,900

Located in a remote coastal community on the Isle of Mull, the ruin of Croft 3 was bought by the current owner in 2019 to expand her busy local restaurant, which now provides a valuable community resource.

The brief to architect fardaa – with whom the client had been friends for 20 years – was to create a restaurant that retained the intimate and simple character of a croft building while maximising the opportunity of the awesome landscape and views across to Ulva and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

  • Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
    Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
  • Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
    Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
  • Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
    Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
  • Croft 3. Credit: Carolyne Mazur
    Croft 3. Credit: Carolyne Mazur
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The project is in a National Scenic Area, where only projects displaying exceptional design quality and a clear social benefit can be supported. In turn, the architect demonstrated a deep understanding of the nature of the ruin, its setting and the local vernacular of close-grouped structures that form shelter from the elements.

The existing footprint of the croft has been converted into the dining hall, with a new extension housing the kitchen, entrance and other back-of-house spaces. The form of the extension matches the ruin’s roof height and pitch resulting in a mass that has just the right level of presence, neither overwhelming nor subservient. The overlap of the forms provides a sheltered entrance which in turn creates a series of views that open up to the landscape as you move into and through the building.

  • Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
    Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
  • Croft 3. Credit: Carolyne Mazur
    Croft 3. Credit: Carolyne Mazur
  • Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
    Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
  • Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
    Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
  • Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
    Croft 3. Credit: David Barbour
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In the dining hall, four new square windows were formed low in the wall, providing framed views at sitting level for guests. Daylight is consequently focused low, the volume above further softened by warm, unpainted plaster. In the extension, windows have been proportioned at the same 2.5m height to feel analogous with existing apertures.

The jury enjoyed the interwoven themes of food, friendship and community and how these had resulted in a modest but delightful space on a shoestring budget.

See the rest of the RIAS winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

Credits

Contractor Mull Joiners
Structural engineer SF Structures
Site visits and local advice Thorne Wyness

Credit: fardaa
Credit: fardaa
Credit: fardaa
Credit: fardaa
Credit: fardaa
Credit: fardaa

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