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Architectural Discovery in the Outer Hebrides.

Building Our Islands is a project for everyone in the Outer Hebrides to learn about and engage with their built environment through workshops, illuminations, art and photography.

An Lanntair and The Western Isles Architecture Group have come together to create and deliver this dynamic and innovative architecture project throughout the Outer Hebrides as part of the 2016 Festival of Architecture. The project is supported by HIE and CNES along a number of other funders, including Tighean Innse Gall, The Royal Institute of Scottish Architects and The Big Lottery Fund Awards for All. This project aims to include as many people as possible and provide an opportunity to educate various communities about the impact of their own built environment. The main aim of the project is to encourage children and adults alike to learn about their own built environment and to educate communities about local architecture and design.

Public Illuminations- Held 24-27 March 2017.

Three nights of illuminations were held, in Rodel on Friday 24 March, and in Stornoway on Saturday 25 and Monday 27 March.  On each night the buildings had various projections, including over 400 works of ARTitecture submitted by members of the public.

These buildings were chosen from a public vote for their favourite building from a short list compiled by local architects. We had over 500 votes and the  the selected winners are:

The Boatman’s Tower, Stornoway Isle of Lewis – Built in the grounds of Charles Wilson’s Tudor Gothic Lews Castle (1847-51). The boatman ferried people to Stornoway and the boatman’s tower housed his family.
Nicolson Institute Clock Tower, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (1873). An Italianate tower is all that survives of the elementary and infant schools on Sandwick Road, demolished amidst much controversy and replaced by a Sports Centre in 1975.
Store Girnal, Rodel, Isle of Harris (18th century) tin roofed structure perched above the harbour. The rear enclosure, with thick, buttressed walls, suggests an earlier building, possibly that for which local blacksmith John Morrison was paid for

Education and Schools Workshops – a bilingual education pack was specially designed for the project and issues to schools in the Western Isles.

You can download the education information below:

Education Pack – English

Education Pack – Gaelic

I Spy Booklet – English

I Spy Booklet – Gaelic

I Spy Template – English

I Spy Template – Gaelic

Architecture Trail – photographer John Maher has been commissioned to photograph a range of buildings throughout the Outer Hebrides. These will be used to create an architectural trail to the islands and raise the profile of the built environment and culture from Butt to Barra.

For a more information about the project please contact Christine Phillips at

For more information about Western Isles Architects group please contact Stuart Bagshaw (Chair), SBA Architects Ltd