Commercial \ Restaurant at Inverewe Gardens

In the far north west of Scotland is a remarkable sub-tropical garden begun in the nineteenth century but now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. We won an open competition for the design of a 200 seat restaurant on a site adjacent to Loch Ewe and also to two extensive existing walled gardens.

Our project divided the restaurant into four cafes of fifty seats each (the size of a bus party) and placed each in its own walled garden. The servery took the form of an underground grotto and the continuation of the walled garden retaining wall became a thickened 'service wall' penetrated by openings between the grotto and the cafes, the entrance route ramping down on its landward side.

The cafes shelter under a glazed canopy supported by a forest of tree like steel supports, which also act as the portals from cafes to the terrace and from the circulation route to the cafes. Cafes can be progressively closed down or opened up to meet the variable demand of the tourist season. The glazed roof designed to be a continuation of the tradition of walled garden glass houses also acts as a solar chimney, with pre-warmed air mechanically re-circulated down to the cafes. The window wall is capable of completely folding away to transform the cafes into a deep veranda on sunny days.

The project was abandoned one week before construction was due to start on site and an alternative design by a local architect was built in the car park.

Architects Richard Murphy, Graeme Montgomery
Engineers ARUP Scotland
M&E Engineers ARUP Scotland
Quantity Surveyor Souter and Jaffrey Inverness
Construction Cost £900,000
Client National Trust for Scotland


February 2011 Competition Puts Character On The Drawing Board
October 1997 Quad Squad Riba Journal
24 March 1996 Room At The Top Sunday Express Magazine
September 1995 Travellers Fare Ideal Home
4 December 1992 Matter Of Trust At Inverewe Herald
2 December 1992 Protests Mount Over Scottish Trust's Complete Collapse Of Courage Archtiects Journal
29 November 1992 Economic Necessity Or A Collapse Of Courage Scotland On Sunday
21 November 1992 Inverewe Gardens Under Threat Glasgow Herald
1 May 1991 Perspective Section And Article Architects' Journal
1 May 1991 At Last Rias Finds Inverewe Winners Project Scotland
22 April 1991 Everything In The Garden Looks Sytlish For Floral Attraction The Scotsman
11 March 1991 A Feast Of Grand Designs The Scotsman
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