An ‘exciting milestone’ for Ionad Hiort realisation

Ionad Hiort – the St Kilda Centre planned for the Uig area of Lewis – has appointed Scottish and Scandinavian architects to take it to the ‘construction ready’ stage.

By Brian Wilson
Friday, 19th November 2021, 8:53 am
Looking across from the Mangurstadh Stacs to the proposed Ionad Hiort site at Geodh Sgoilt
Looking across from the Mangurstadh Stacs to the proposed Ionad Hiort site at Geodh Sgoilt

More than 100 practices expressed interest in the high profile project and 23 submitted final tenders. The team selected includes Reiulf Ramstand Arkitekter of Norway and Denmark, Skye-based Dualchas and Metaphor Content and Exhibition Designers.

The chair of Ionad Hiort, Iain Buchanan said: “Following a highly competitive and rigorous process, we have chosen a multi-disciplinary design team which will be responsible for taking the project to ‘construction ready’ RIBA Stage 4. The final submissions and short-leet interviews were all very impressive”.

He thanked HIE and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for their continued support. The full team also includes Atelier Ten environmental design consultants, David Narro Associates [Chartered Surveyors] and Torrance Partnership [Quantity Surveyors].

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Joannna Peteranna, interim area manager for HIE, said: “We are really pleased that the design team has been appointed for this ambitious community-led development. Ionad Hiort will provide an opportunity for visitors to experience St Kilda first-hand using a remote approach whilst protecting its World Heritage status.

“We are delighted to support the project to get to this stage. HIE are working with all three island communities to spread the economic benefits of the St Kilda story and to contribute to the growth of tourism throughout the islands.”

Lead architect Reiulf Ramstad said: “The story of St Kilda resonates not just among the communities of the Outer Hebrides, but peripheral communities across the globe. Fundamentally, it is about using the memory of a now abandoned community to contribute to the lasting future of a surviving one.

“While we are involved with several international projects on remote and rugged sites, Ionad Hiort is truly unique. As a global benchmark for remote cultural institutions, it has the capacity to highlight the lasting importance of such places, and the rich communities that inhabit them. We are proud to be appointed to this commission together with local architects, Dualchas, and the rest of the project team”.

Dualchas director Rory Flyn said: “We share the same vision; that architecture should be inspired by the landscape and culture of the place. Both practices are used to working with what are considered peripheral communities, but in fact these are often are connected by strong identities and a determination to survive and flourish.

“The story of St Kilda resonates across the world as it tells of a way of life lost, of a place abandoned. The project is also about the people of Uig, who have shown remarkable resilience and energy to get the project to the stage where it may soon become a reality, and who are doing their utmost to preserve their community and Gaelic culture . It is an honour to be appointed as part of the team, and we can’t wait to get started.”

Comhairle leader Roddie Mackay said: “The selection of the design team is an exciting milestone in the development of the Ionad Hiort project and we all look forward to seeing the results of their efforts.”