GALE Centre

A Passiv Haus- certified community building in Gairloch, Wester Ross.

Neil Sutherland Architects were commissioned by Gairloch & Loch Ewe Action Forum (GALE) to design a new multi purpose community building which would provide new office accommodation for their organisation, relocate the existing tourist information centre and shop, provide a flexible teaching space and an exhibition area for displaying local art projects/​craft. The prominent site lies at the heart of Gairloch and brings new community facilities to the area which will benefit both locals and visitors to Gairloch.

The new building makes full use of the assets of the site. Amongst these are the open south- west aspect, with the opportunity to harness passive solar gain, whilst capturing the stunning views westwards over Loch Gairloch.

GALE sought to create a building which would set an environmental’ benchmark for new building in the Gairloch area. They were particularly keen to do this given the intended use as both a building accessed by the local community, and as a likely first point of contact for visitors to the area. This was with the aim of not only conserving energy and resources in construction, but also in use and simultaneously providing a healthy working environment for the staff and visitors to the building. The building is designed to the ultra low energy German Passiv Haus standard with rigorous air tightness and thermal performance requirements and is constructed in the main from locally grown untreated timber.