Childcare, Early Learning & Family Centre, Cairndow



ARCHITECTURE: Public Building


MAST Architects


Cairndow Community Childcare Ltd


Cairndow Community Childcare Ltd. is a local childcare provider established by a group of parents and carers in 2004, as a community business to provide vital support to families in the rural community of Cairndow, in Argyll.  Having outgrown their original premises, we worked with Community Links Scotland to undertake a detailed site appraisal and business planning exercise which sought to identify an appropriate site for a bespoke new-build childcare and community facility.  Whilst the population of Cairndow itself is relatively small, it occupies a prominent location at the head of Loch Fyne, with a notional ‘catchment’ of almost 1700 people.  The delivery of the new facility would thus allow the organisation to provide a vital community service within a fragile rural community, both now and in the future, satisfying a number of local and national community development initiatives.  Together with Community Links, we worked with the client to secure funding from a number of agencies, including the Big Lottery Fund and Argyll & Bute Council, with site works commencing in the summer of 2018.To maximise the benefit of the building to the wider community, a multi-purpose facility was created which offered dedicated childcare provision, a bespoke play barn (known as the ‘Fyne Den’), and a variety of flexible meeting and events spaces.  The building is wholly operated by Cairndow Community Childcare group.The building occupies a stunning location in the Argyll countryside on the shores of Loch Fyne, and has been designed as a contemporary interpretation of the agricultural forms found nearby.  Accommodation is grouped into two distinct volumes, one clad in standing seam zinc, with the other in a black timber-effect cladding panel.  These elements combine to create a building which sits comfortably within its rural surroundings.  Within the building, flashes of coloured cladding and glazing are used to introduce a sense of playfulness and identity to the building which reflects the vibrance and energy of its desired end users.