The Square, Cladich, Argyll is a historic agricultural steading on the shores of Loch Awe. It consisted of two byres to the east and west of a courtyard, and higher barn and stockman’s cottage to the north. It was used until recently for its original purpose but became redundant when the owner constructed a modern steading. The buildings were semi-derelict, and the roofs had started to collapse. The stockman’s cottage was uninhabitable, with the upper floor on the point of collapse, windows and doors rotten, and sanitary facilities below the minimum standard. Its location close to the heart of the small village of Cladich meant that its state of repair had a disproportionate impact on the visual amenity of the village, consisting of only about 9 houses, which appeared to be a dying community.
Its conversion to five affordable houses for rent by a private Scottish client, was aided by Rural Empty Properties Grant awarded by Communities Scotland. The houses are let at 2/3 of the market rent for comparable houses, and can be let only to local people. Sizes vary from 2-bedroom to 4-bedroom houses. All houses have two floors to make best use of the existing building envelope. The client has the option of creating one further house in the unconverted barn. The houses were fully let within 4 weeks of completion. Cladich now appears rejuvenated and vibrant.
The original detailing and character has been carefully preserved. Existing window and door openings were re-used where possible and new openings kept to a minimum. Where it was unavoidable to create new openings they were created on the less visible elevations facing away from the courtyard. Any new openings facing the courtyard were constructed using reclaimed stonework and reclaimed timber lintels. The original roof slates were recovered, trimmed and re-used, and laid in diminishing courses. The original ventilation detail on the ridge was recreated. Window and door details closely follow the original design.