the project

We’re thrilled to have been asked to work on this exciting isle of Bute regeneration project. It’s a forward-thinking idea that will provide a vibrant social hub for both Rothesay locals and island visitors. Bute Yard will be a central point for gathering, eating out and spending time – offering creative opportunities, including markets, events, arts, meetings, and fun.

Rothesay has long been a good-time weekend haunt for Glaswegians. Some say the Scottish expression ‘steaming’ originates from excursions from the mainland via steamer. With various energising Rothesay regeneration projects on the go, it’s an honour to be involved in introducing a new updated space to the town centre.

Bute Yard is right at the heart of Rothesay, located behind the 17th century grade-A listed Mansion House, Bute’s oldest dwelling and a landmark opposite the castle. It’s recently had a full external restoration completed in consultation with Historic Environment Scotland and Argyll & Bute Council. For an architect, working amid the contrasting 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th century architecture surrounding the site is a fascinating and appealing business. It’s a truly historic backdrop which sets the tone of this charming Scottish town. Set against this – and in harmony with it – the lively new industrial-chic enclave offering stimulating things to do will really shine.



How we worked

With so much historic architecture, both sensitivity and bravery are key. Our design responds architecturally to this powerful historic diversity by creating buildings that offer buzz, melding modern social needs with creative architecture within the form of commercial design.

At its core, the site is a commercial yard, so, the new main building feels industrial with a pitched roof that slots into the space’s past. The whole feel, however, with expansive glazing and a vibrant café, melds modern and historic in a contemporary style that invites and facilitates social interaction.

A large courtyard will be a key feature for external activities – food-trucks and pop-up markets; whatever the event requires. We have designed it to create a protected and focused space. Units around still have an element of the working builder’s yard, using industrial forms and materials. We have been careful not to eliminate the lovely historic sensibility of the site.

Wide barn doors on the north elevation of the main building let the internal and external functions merge. Inside, a central events space is kept as clear and open-plan as possible for flexibility. A proposed café, opening onto the forecourt, is a warm beacon and entrance to the site.


Success of the project

With a forward-thinking and supportive collection of groups, businesses and people behind this community project, we envisage Bute Yard being a great success. We think it will be a point of pride, attracting new tourism, and adding to the activities, food options and appeal of the island.

This project has now been given the go ahead by the planners.

Find out more on the Bute Yard website.