Situated in the heart of the village, Blair Atholl’s Village Hall has been a mainstay for locals for decades. It is home to social gatherings of all shapes and sizes, welcoming tens of visitors each year. However, in recent years, its Armoury Hall area had become run-down and dated.
From 2019-2020, I was commissioned by the Blair Atholl Village Hall Committee to regenerate their Armoury Hall, in line with its changing use and sustainability goals.
Initially, I conducted research in the village and amongst regular users of the Armoury Hall, in order to comprehend what purpose the space currently served; what its challenges were; and what opportunities lay. Common findings concluded that the space was not appealing to inhabit due to being cold and draughty, and out-dated. Thus, the following regeneration was undertaken.
After the Armoury Hall was cleared and stripped of existing furnishings (up-cycling where possible) and fabrics, the floor was raised – by a local joiner – to meet the bottom of the entrance doors; firstly removing the need for a dangerous access ramp, and secondly creating a space to be filled with insulation, in turn adding to heat-retention.
Removal of the existing carpet exposed a difficulty in discarding, due to the un-recyclable and unsustainable material that the carpet comprised of. This emphasised the need for care when selecting furnishings and carpets. Therefore, a natural, sustainable and recyclable coir carpet was chosen, sourced from independent Perth-based retailer, J Barclays. The coir flooring is not only an environmentally friendly choice, but also boasts durability, ensuring that the floor will not appear worn out, even after decades of use.
To address the problem of lack of light in the Armoury Hall, the existing dark panelled wood walls were painted – by a local painter and decorator – in a light beige colour. Doing this immediately made the space brighter, alongside opening up and replacing windows which had otherwise become covered and rotten.
The room was refurnished with as much as the old furnishings as possible, which had been treated with wax and refurbished by members of the Hall Committee. Photography and needlework by local artists was chosen to decorate the walls and create a sense of home, completed by re-opening the previously covered over fireplace.
It is hoped that the regenerated Armoury Hall can become a home for the village and whoever else may use it.
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