Urras nan Tursachan has announced they are seeking a design team for their £3.3 million project to revamp Calanais Visitor.
The contract is now out to tender on the Public Contracts Scotland portal for a design firm to oversee the refurbishing the 1990s-era heritage centre at one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Outer Hebrides.
The Calanais 2025 project to redevelop visitor facilities is being prompted by “insufficient capacity” to meet the growing expectations of domestic and international visitors.
According to the brief: “The Calanais Standing Stones are one of Scotland’s iconic visitor destinations, featuring in a wide range of media, including the Starz series Outlander, Disney’s Brave, and innumerable books and websites around the world.
“The centre is adjacent to the Calanais Standing Stones and was established in 1995 on land gifted from the University of Edinburgh as a community enterprise to provide visitors to the stones with facilities including interpretation, café and retail area, and to use the Standing Stones to generate employment and economic benefit for the west coast of Lewis.”
The new project will upgrade heritage and interpretation facilities at the site, which currently receives around 157,000 visitors annually but is expected to receive 200,000 visitors per year by the end of the decade.
Key elements will include refurbishing an existing curved building featuring a café, gift shop and basic interpretation area; transforming a 19th-century farmhouse into a new kitchen, retail, office and café facility; and delivering a new extension for coach parties and events.
The standing stones trust selected jmarchitects to work on the project nine years ago, and plans for the site have been developed up to RIBA Stage 3.
The design firm for this new contract will oversee RIBA Stages 4-to-7.
The deadline for bids is Monday, April 24.