Falls of Falloch - Scottish Scenic Routes project


Winning entry by John Kennedy for the Scottish Scenic Routes initiative.

Inspired by an historic account of a visit to the Falls of Falloch by Dorothy Wordsworth, sister of the Romantic poet William, this project seeks to harness and draw attention to the sound of the falls as well as provide a close-range view.

The tunnel-like shelter is designed as an acoustic amplifier. Widening along its length like a hearing trumpet, it will weave down through the trees to the cliff edge facing the waterfall.

As the visitor moves through the structure, the sound of the waterfall will be modulated to be louder or quieter by its form.  Although present to the visitor by way of sound, the waterfall will be invisible to visitors within the structure before turning the final corner.  Upon turning,  the source of the noise will then be seen, framed by the tunnel’s mouth, where there will be a stepped timber seating platform, affording a sheltered view of the whole waterfall. 1.2 metres wide at the entrance, the structure will be 4.5 metres wide at the viewing platform.

The shelter will be constructed entirely from steel reinforcing bar, expected to weather to a rusty red, contrasting pleasingly with the green forest in summer, and sitting into a winter palette of colours.  The 10 mm steel bars will be woven through  a series of doorframe-like hoops in a manner reminiscent of willow-weave fences and other forest craft traditions. The structure is intended to be almost maintenance-free and to become overgrown by the surrounding forest like a garden trellis or bird’s nest.  At night, the woven surface is to glow like a lantern from internal lighting.

The structure is also fitted with a tall chimney containing a periscope which will afford users a panoramic view.  Referring back to the written account by Dorothy Wordsworth,  John Kennedy relates this experience to her description of ‘aweful sound’ as, although unseen, visitors will hear the roar of the Falls ‘everywhere, almost, one might say, as if “exhaled’’ through the whole surface of the green earth.’


John Kennedy graduated from the University of Strathclyde School of Architecture in 2012.

See also:Inveruglas by BTE Architecture and Loch Lubnaig Beag by Ruairidh Moir

Falls of Falloch - John Kennedy - Scottish Scenic Routes