CUPA PIZARRAS’ Heavy 3 replicates traditional appearance for new Kingshouse Hotel

  • 22 Apr 2020

CUPA PIZARRAS’ Heavy 3 slate has delivered the traditional look of Scottish slate for the redevelopment and extension of the historic Kingshouse Hotel, in the Glencoe area of the Scottish Highlands. 

Kingshouse Hotel dates back to 1755 and is located at the east end of Glencoe in a National Scenic Area (NSA). It stands on the banks of the River Etive, with views of the 3,345 foot Buachaille Etive Mòr mountain – one of the most photographed views in the area.

Kingshouse Hotel has a long and rich social and historical heritage – it is a key landmark on the West Highland Way and serves as both a destination and waypoint for visitors to Glencoe, including walkers and climbers.


To improve the facilities offered by the hotel and to take advantage of the increasing tourism to the area, plans were made to redevelop the hotel which, in its current incarnation, was completed in the 1960s.

The £12 million redevelopment involved the build of a new, 57-room hotel and restoration of the original 18th century Kingshouse Inn building, renamed ‘The Way Inn’. The new hotel was designed by Covell Matthews Architects and built by Douglas & Stewart Construction.


The history, location and surroundings all had to be taken into account during the design and build of the new hotel. Natural slate was specified for the roof to provide a continuation of the style of the original building and to match with the inn building that would be retained.

However, finding a slate for the pitched roof and cladding that could replicate the traditional but no longer produced Scottish slate was vital to the redevelopment. 

CUPA PIZARRAS’ Heavy 3 slate was chosen for its close resemblance to the traditional Ballachulish slate, which was produced locally between 1693 and 1955 and was used on the roof of the original Kingshouse.

The dark grey, seven to eight millimetre thick CUPA PIZARRAS Heavy 3 slates closely replicate the colour and thickness of the original Scottish slates, as well as the characteristic pyrite crystals, often visible on the surface. 


Catherine Cope, Associate at Covell Matthews Architects, commented: “Fundamental to the concept for the redeveloped hotel was the selection of a refined palette of traditional materials employed in a contemporary idiom to compliment the design, and establish a dialogue with the local vernacular.

“The distinctive design draws its reference from the surrounding environment following the surrounding mountain ranges to generate its roof profile.

“It was also important that the new slate utilised for the pitched roofscape match that of the historic Kings House as closely as possible to create a strong sense of visual connection across the site.

“We had specified CUPA Heavy 3 on previous projects where we needed a replacement for traditional local slate and knew it would provide the look we wanted.”


With the intention of evoking the shape of the local landscape, the roof is a series of irregular pitches that totals approximately 1,800 metres squared – CUPA PIZARRAS Heavy 3 slates in 500 x 250 millimetre format were installed across the entire roof by the contractor’s team.

The slate was also continued into the cladding with 350 metres squared of CUPA PIZARRAS Heavy 3 slate in 400 x 250 millimetre format used for the east and west elevations – aligned with the views towards the mountains.

The build of the hotel was carried out between April and December 2018 – it was crucial for the project to be completed within the planned timeframe, to allow the hotel to open at the beginning of last year (8th February 2019 was the date it opened to the public).


Andy McNair, of Douglas & Stewart Construction, commented: “With the date set for the hotel to reopen, it was crucial that delays were avoided wherever possible.

“The CUPA PIZARRAS slates were delivered to site when we needed them and having worked with the product before, our team had no issues installing the roofing and cladding in the timeframe required.”

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