Dunoon Waterfront – A Year of Coasts and Waters Case study

Submitted by erz

Those who enter Dunoon from the ferry terminal are met by a place rich in landscape and history. Formerly ‘doon the watter’, Dunoon was one of a series of holiday towns on the Clyde, expanding rapidly in the 19th century. Dunoon’s later downturn coincided with expanding car/plane holidays during the late 20th century.

Dunoon is focussed redefining itself. At the edge of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, the town is once again aiming to attract visitors, this time from both home and abroad. As active holidays in remote areas become more popular, the town is ready to promote its assets – the historic built fabric; the landscape setting; Dunoon’s accessibility by ferry – offering a great gateway into the wider landscape.

The ferry infrastructure in Dunoon had gradually sprawled to dominate the seafront. When the car ferry moved two miles out of town, leaving only a passenger terminus, the resultant “lost space” left the town disconnected from the sea.

Erz and Malcolm Fraser Architects won a joint bid to deliver the refurbishment of the Queen’s Hall and waterfront. We all saw an opportunity to reposition Dunoon. Erz established a strategic landscape response focussing on:

A sense of welcome:

Creation of a welcoming gateway from the remaining passenger ferry terminus into the town and the National Park beyond.

Finding Lost Space:

Reclaiming vibrant, civic space from the derelict ferry/vehicle infrastructure that dominated Dunoon and blocked the waterfront.

Tying the town back together:

Re-establishing the physical connection of the Queen’s Hall and town centre to the sea.

The resultant plans are contemporary yet historically appropriate. They celebrate a seaside destination with playful use of colour and detail combined with natural materials.

Measuring success

The waterfront now houses a programme of events including Dunoon Gin Festival, Cowal Highland Gathering, Dunoon Dazzles.

Our client, John Gordon, Capital Regeneration Programme Manager at ABC, stated that “as a number of residents of and visitors to the area commented … if we did nothing other than the public realm improvements, we have created a beautiful gateway into Dunoon and the wider Cowal area to the National Park beyond.”

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