The Boatman's Tower, Lews Castle Grounds. Photo copyright John Maher
Lewis and Harris are set to have their very own Illuminations as three historic buildings get lit up this month in celebration of island architecture – and island residents have the chance to see their very own artwork up in lights.
An Lanntair arts centre and the Western Isles Architects Group are delighted to present three nights of illuminations and lantern parades to celebrate the diversity of Architecture in the Western Isles on Friday, March 24th in Rodel, and Saturday March 25th and Monday March 27th in Stornoway.
As part of a the 'Building our Islands' project, inspired by the 2016 Festival of Architecture, three island buildings – The Boatman's Tower and The Nicolson Institute Clock Tower in Stornoway, and Store Girnal in Rodel – were selected by the public, with over 500 people casting their vote.
Stuart Bagshaw, chairman Western Isles Architects Group, said: “The Western Isles Architects Group is proud to have created this project with An Lanntair, which has demonstrated so much interest in our local built environment.
“All buildings help to define out culture and this illumination event will help showcase what the islands have.”
And young and old are invited to join further in shining a light on the islands' architecture by creating their own ARTitecture to be projected onto The Boatman's Tower, The Nicolson Clock Tower and Store Grinal.
From March 4th to 21st, the public are invited to stop by An Lanntair or Museum nan Eilean to pick up their 'canvas' of one of the three buildings. Alternatively you can download your canvas here.
Then, using the nominated building as inspiration, you can design your own work of art, or just have a doodle. Completed ARTitecture canvases will then be projected on the respective buildings as the cornerstone of the illumination events programme.
Head of Marketing at An Lanntair, Christine Philips, said: “The feedback we have had from our partners about the Building our Islands project is that everyone is really excited about it, especially the community aspects as there have been lots of opportunities for people to get involved.
“The ARTitecture canvases offer another chance - it's an open call for everyone to get involved and the beauty with the ARTitecture canvases is that anyone can do one, make it their own and be involved in the illuminations.”
The Nicolson Institute Clock Tower, Stornoway. Photo copyright John Maher
Supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, along with a number of funders including Tighean Innse Gall, the Royal Institute of Scottish Architects and The Big Lottery Fund Awards for All; the Building our Islands project also commissioned the talents of Harris based photographer John Maher to document the range of Architecture in the Western Isles.
John's work will give a preview to the Architecture Trail – soon to be published in conjunction with Outer Hebrides Tourism – and will serve as a lasting legacy of the project.
“Talking to people I've met on my travels and researching some of the history associated with the buildings has been a fantastic experience,” John said.
“I hope my pictures will assist in delivering at least some of the additional insight into the history and culture of the Outer Hebrides that I've gained as a result of my involvement. I'm proud to have been a part of it.”
Western Isles Architects Group's Stuart Bagshaw added: “The Architectural Trail showing notable buildings around the islands will be coming out soon and the Western Isles Architects Group and An Lanntair hope this Building our Islands event will stimulate more discussion about what makes good architecture.”
While the full programme of the project's Illuminations is still under wraps, it will include elements of art, film and poetry.
Island school pupils will also be getting involved constructing lanterns, inspired by architecture, to form a Lantern Parade to start each of the Illumination events.
Store Girnal, Rodel, Harris. Photo copyright John Maher
The Rodel Illuminations, featuring Store Girnal, take place on Friday, March 24th, with the lantern parade setting off from Rodel Church at 7.15pm, and projections continuing until about 9pm.
The Stornoway Illuminations will take place on Saturday, March 25th, with the lantern parade stetting off from An Lanntair at 7.15pm, arriving at The Nicolson Clock Tower at approximately 7.30pm. It will continue onto Bayhead, overlooking The Boatman's Tower, at approximately 8pm, and projections continue until around 10pm.
The Stornoway Illuminations will be repeated on Monday, March 27th, from 8.30pm. Everyone taking part in the Lantern Parades in Rodel or Stornoway are asked to book their free place.