Latest News

Fort William Cinema Unveiled

By | Latest News

We have released our vision for a new cinema in Fort William town centre for the first time.

This shows the transformation of Cameron square where the 1980s building, currently being used by retailer DV8, is to be demolished and replaced with a stone and metal-clad two screen cinema with a café/bar.

The project has been developed by Highland entrepreneur Angus MacDonald who is holding a public consultation in Cameron Square this Wednesday to Friday to explain the ambitions of the project. And according to Angus, the project should help with the town’s continued regeneration.

“I am delighted to have secured a fantastic site for a cinema in the Fort William town centre. Dualchas has designed a gorgeous building which will provide a stunning addition to the town.

Because the Fort William area has a population of 20,000, with 440,000 visitors who stay at least one night, this should hopefully provide a steady flow of people to the two screens during our wet days and dark evenings.”

There have been several attempts in the recent past to get a cinema back in Fort William, which has not had a working cinema for 12 years. Mr MacDonald, who is from a local family and has lived almost all his life in the Highlands, is funding the project privately while also seeking support from local businesses and the wider community.

The design tries to tie in to the fabric of the existing square, which was previously the site of the town hall, before it was tragically destroyed by fire in 1975. And it is that sense of a civic centre which project architect Rory Flyn says that the design is trying to create.

“When Angus approached Dualchas he wanted a building designed that was distinctly Highland, and he was inspired by images of Highland village halls and classically proportioned houses. He was also keen that the materials were stone and metal – something which referenced the architecture of the place.

Dualchas have taken his ideas and tried to create a building that breaks down a rather large brief in to 4 distinct forms which are in proportion and respectful to the surrounding historic buildings. We hope the design will reinstate Cameron Square as the focal point of Fort William, as well as providing a wonderful facility.”

The proposed opening date for the new facility of the summer of 2020, with an expectation that ten full time equivalent jobs will be created.

Arran Challenge Triumph

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Last weekend Dualchas and Hebhomes ascended Arran. 24 of us took it upon ourselves to cycle 57 miles around Arran or run or walk 10km up and down Goatfell. It was a fantastic weekend with everyone giving it 100%. The quickest cycling group managed the Arran Loop in 4 hours 35 minutes and the fastest runner managed to get up and down in only 1 hour 55 minutes. There was plenty of sore bodies the day after.

A massive thank you to everyone who contributed to our amazing success of reaching in excess of £5000! Hopefully our contribution can make a little difference. The running total can be seen by clicking here.


Arran Challenge


Family House on Skye

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The benefit of working in places like the Isle of Skye is being part of the community. We are able to see houses become family homes, and we are often welcomed back to enjoy these spaces with clients and friends. This home is situated in Camuscross and enjoys great views across the water towards the Knoydart peninsula. It is flooded by natural light, the clerestory glazing allowing for an open and flowing living space.

Dualchas at the V&A

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Dualchas are delighted that two of their houses, Colbost and Cliff House on the Isle of Skye, are being showcased in the new Victoria and Albert design museum in Dundee in a permanent exhibition.

Speaking at the official opening Dualchas director Alasdair Stephen said,  ‘It was a complete surprise to me that not only Dualchas but also a Hebhomes design had been selected to illustrate the strength of architectural design in rural Scotland.

‘It was a surprise to see stunning footage of Jason Bold’s house using drone camerawork, this was extra special.

‘I think it says a lot about the quality of our work that Dualchas has been selected for such a prestigious building’

Fraser Stewart who created the models on display said “It was a great pleasure to be invited to provide a pair of models which shows how Dualchas’ architecture integrates with the landscape. The timber massing models show how the simple forms sit within the contours of the site which are formed of cork. The pair of models show how a sensitive and respectful approach to site layout can lead to a holistic and considered architecture, peacfully integrating with its surroundings”

Fort William Cinema

By | Blog, Latest News

Press release

Skye-based design firm Dualchas Architects has been appointed to design a new cinema for Fort William. This will see a two screen cinema with a café/bar built in Cameron Square in the heart of the town.

The project has been developed by Highland entrepreneur Angus MacDonald, who has recently purchased the 1970s former studio cinema, now used by retailer DV8. This will be demolished and replaced with the new building. And according to Mr MacDonald, high quality design is central to the proposal.

“We are delighted to have appointed Dualchas as architects. Their reputation in selecting fantastic local building materials and their contemporary twist on Highland traditional building styles was very appealing to us. They have already produced a beautiful design concept which is being developed prior to it being presented to the local community.”

There have been several attempts in the recent past to get a cinema back in Fort William, which has not had a working cinema for 12 years. The plan is to offer a wide variety of films to the 20,000 locals and 440,000 annual visitors, as well as transform the square in to a beautiful public space.

Dualchas director Neil Stephen said,

“When you look at photographs of Cameron square prior to the town hall being demolished in 1975, you can see what an important focal point and public space the square used to be, and could be again. There are beautiful historic buildings within Fort William – our job will be to create a civic building and space which stitches in to the fabric of the built environment and provides a wonderful facility.”

Fort William is regarded as the “outdoor capital of the UK” due to the variety of outdoor sports that take place in the area, including mountain biking, hillwalking and skiing. However, it has lacked indoor recreational amenities – which are much needed due to the famously wet climate.

There is a proposed opening date for the new facility of the summer of 2020, with an expectation that ten full time equivalent jobs will be created. Initial proposals will be on public display from 11am to 7pm on the 3rd to 5th October at the current building in Cameron Square where Mr MacDonald will be present to discuss all aspects of the project with anyone who is interested.

Dualchas Arran Challenge Update

By | Blog, Latest News

We are well underway with our training and fundraising. We’ve now had to raise the target twice due to people’s overwhelming generosity. Currently the target sits at £4,000. With over 2 months to go until the event there is still plenty of time to donate.

Our biggest donation so far was raised by Julie Carley on Sunday at a gig by Sharon’s favourite band Dan reed Network. Lots of people in the audience that night contributed a staggering £340.

People are taking the challenge seriously and are taking every opportunity to squeeze in some training – whether that’s at lunchtime, after work or the weekend.


Click here for our fundraising page.

Jersey Planning Approval

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We were delighted to find out that our redevelopment of a beachfront site in Jersey has recently been granted Planning Permission.


The site already had Planning for a large house and the brief from our clients was to produce a building with less impact on the site and surrounding context.


We looked to reduce the mass of the building and to pull it away from the boundary wall to minimise impact on neighbouring properties.


The building that previously had consent had total footprint over two floors of 400m2. Our proposal has a total footprint of 250m2, which markedly reduces the impact on the site. This is particularly noticeable on the upper floors, with the new proposal being almost half the size.


We look forward to developing the design over the coming months and to expanding our work to other parts of the British Isles.

Togail Sùil – Martin on the radio

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Martin Baillie, an architect from our Skye office, who is a fluent gaelic speaker featured on a BBC Radio nan Gàidheal episode.

Through this series ‘Togail Sùil’ Gilleasbuig MacDhòmhnaill speaks to people with an interest in Glasgow Architecture and asks guests to choose a building or typology and to discuss what makes it successful. In this, the first program in the series, Martin and Ian MacDiarmaid both choose ‘a priori’ urban typologies which attempted to redefine the fabric of the city.

Martin spoke about the Glasgow Tenement as the defining architectural feature of the city and its success in providing a flexible housing solution for the rapidly industrialising city, housing rich and poor and dealing with a variety of urban conditions. He discussed the lasting qualities of tenement architecture and its ability to adapt to modern living and to create attractive and scalable streetscapes. In the program they discussed this in relation to the Bruce Plan to demolish the tenements and the Brutalist architecture which was to replace it, with the Anderston Centre by Richard Seifert (now Cadogan Square) chosen by Ian as a particularly good example of the ambition shown by the urban planners of the 1960s to recreate the city and its way of life.


Click the image below to be taken to the episode on the BBC iPlayer site.

Dualchas Arran Challenge

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Our Dualchas & Hebhomes teams are putting in their best effort to raise funds for research into MS, a cause recently discovered close to our team.

We set our target to fund one whole working day of research by one of MS Society’s world-leading scientist – we trust that even a small contribution can make a big difference!

We will split into two teams and undertake one of the following challenges:

– 10km run up Goatfell (874m)

– 88km cycle loop / half a loop around Arran (depending on capabilities)

We do extensive work in rural areas and remote Scottish scenery is very close to us all. We will come together – both Glasgow and Skye office, and with the support of families and friends undertake a challenge that in most cases is over and above our current capabilities… We are keen to work extremely hard and we appreciate any donations, big or small.


Please click here to donate.