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St Comghan’s Chapel

    St Comghan’s Chapel was designed by Neil McAllister of GLM Architects and has been shortlisted in the aesthetic design (small scale) category. This is a new-build private chapel of traditional form and construction on the client’s estate on Loch Melfort. It was to be a standalone building ancillary to the main house and was influenced by the abbey and monastic buildings on Iona and the diminutive St. Margaret’s Chapel at Edinburgh Castle.

    This private chapel provides a special place of sanctuary in both meanings of the word – as a place set apart from the world for contemplation and worship and as a place of safety and retreat. The building consists of simple forms and geometric proportions with massive walls rooting it into the landscape. The deeply splayed windows give a constantly changing light as the sun moves around the site. The design grew from an understanding of the history of the place. The name Kilchoan means “the church of [Saint] Comghan” and speaks of the links to the ancient Celtic saints coming from Iona and the lost mediaeval church and monastery which once stood nearby. The chapel is built with natural materials: stone, slate, lime, timber and terracotta. Some are reclaimed while the granite was sourced from an abandoned quarry on nearby Mull. This was brought directly to the site and worked and erected in a way that would have been very familiar to a medieval mason – albeit assisted by power tools. These materials have low embodied energy, are very long lasting and are ultimately recyclable.

    Photos copyright Kevin McCollum.

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