‘The Gathering Place’ is a minimalist gesture on the Scottish landscape

The Gathering Place by artists Sans Façon, architects KHBT, and the City of Inverness brings together architecture, art and the Scottish landscape

Daytime image of The gathering place installation in Scotland, stone curved pathway suspended over the water, people walking on the path, forest area to the left, grass verge to the left
(Image credit: Robert Ormerod)

Located in the heart of the Highland city of Inverness, The Gathering Place is a minimalist yet powerful gesture on the Scottish landscape. Bridging design, architectural gardens, landscape and art, the piece has just been unveiled by a creative team composed of artists Sans Façon and architects KHBT, alongside the City of Inverness. It creates not only an elegant architectural landmark for the region, but also a place for gathering and contemplation for locals and visitors alike. 

The piece, all sweeping curves and tactile materiality, can be found along the banks of the iconic River Ness, conversing with the water and nature beyond. Partly nestled into the riverbank, and partially floating above the water, the design aims to reconnect ‘the city with the river, drawing out its stories, engendering a sense of place and creating access to the river', explain its creators. 

Daytime image, muddy verge leading up to the pathway bridge at the gathering place, man sat on the wall, with three small dogs, three visitors walking on the curved bridge, water view, forest are surrounding the water

(Image credit: Robert Ormerod)

This is not just an opportunity to create a beautiful, sculptural piece, set against the green nature of its context. It is also an attempt to symbolically and practically ‘revisit the river's social role’, say the team, celebrating both the Ness and the city. Highlighting this approach, the structure takes the visitor on a jounrey through the Scottish landscape, transforming from a bench, to a pathway, a platform and eventually, a pier or a bridge-like experience. 

The Gathering Place is made out of Clashach stone, which can be sourced from the region, putting the emphasis once more on locality and community. Not only it's a beautiful material but it’s also intrinsically connected to the region. The piece was also constructed locally by Beauly-based company Simpson Builders. 

‘After the intense research, including the collection of many stories from the people of Inverness, it felt appropriate to create a minimal gesture that enhances the notion of the river being the main actor, whilst creating a tangible connection between the spectators from both embankments,' says KHBT director and Berlin International University of Applied Science professor Karsten Huneck.

Daytime aerial view of the gathering place , surrounded by forest area to the right and water to the left, two people stood on the bridge with a bicycle

(Image credit: Robert Ormerod)

Daytime aerial view of the gathering place, surrounded by forest area and water, two people walking on the bridge

(Image credit: Robert Ormerod)

Daytime aerial view of the gathering place, surrounded by forest area and water, people gathering on the bridge

(Image credit: Robert Ormerod)




Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

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