Communities at the heart of the Pavilion

The place where memories are made is just ‘doon the watter’.

Rothesay Pavilion has many fascinating stories to tell. Since before the second world war it has been the place on the island of Bute for big gatherings, dance bands, live entertainment, sport, local community events, conferences, shows and celebrations.

Happy times at “The PAV” are etched into the lives of Bute’s families, friends and visitors.Throughout the restoration,  members of the local community have been sharing their memories, photos, memorabilia and stories with Rothesay Pavilion Charity to create the ‘Pavilion People’s Archive’.

Together with a series of short films made by film maker Basharat Khan, they capture the essence and character of the Pavilion and the creativity and spirit of Bute’s communities from the Pavilion’s heyday to present.

It makes a fascinating permanent feature of the Pavilion capturing Scotland’s relationship with Rothesay across the decades, as ‘the holiday capital of  the West Coast’ and the place the Pavilion played in island life.

You can add your stories to the collection, preserving Bute’s and the Pavilion’s rich heritage and creating an inspiration for generations to come.
Have you something to share or contribute?  Contact us here 



Photo credits -Bute Museum & community members

Unrivalled  island destination

Just 30 minutes from the mainland

When the restoration is complete there will be a combination of new facilities in the Pavilion wrapped around its famous dance hall and main auditorium (capacity 900), capable of hosting major events and exhibitions, supporting new and emerging creative businesses and sole traders to grow and promoting next generation careers for young people, They include fully accessible:

• 26om2 Gallery/exhibition space and Pavilion People’s Archive and circulation areas.

• A studio and second performance space ideal for bands, DJs,comedy, folk, club and jazz nights

• Cafe-bar with seafront balcony

• Contemporary design/craft retail opportunity

• Glass fronted multi function room with sea views

• Separate roof top and dedicated offices, multi function working space and meeting room facilities for lease or hire

• Dedicated multi media facilities and services and space for young people to make their own.

• Garden

If you’d like to know more please contact us here


Photo credit -Design Lighting Workshop S4&5 Pupils Rothesay Academy – Iseult Timmermans


Image credit – original Elder& Cannon Architects, adapted KMaas Creatives

A landmark of International Modernism

Named as one of the top ten favourite Scottish buildings of the last century (Royal Incorporation of Architects, 2016)

This Grade A listed building is a unique example of a style of architecture known as International Modernism. Its look was influenced by artist, craft workers and future-focussed architects challenging the status quo and experimenting with new materials, fusing the principles of fine art with industrial design. Their radical ideas of Bauhaus and Art Deco practice were inspired by the egalitarian ideal that art, design, craft and architecture create a positive, practical impact on an industrial scale.

This type of design and architecture used new technologies (steel, concrete and industrial glass) and ideas that changed perceptions about what was possible — like cantilevered, elevated floors that defy gravity by appearing to float. The upper floor cafe in the Rothesay Pavilion is a perfect example of this.

Rothesay Pavilion is unique in Scotland and one of only two Pavilions in the UK remaining built in the  International Modernism style with roots influenced by the egalitarian Bauhaus and Art Deco tradition.

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De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, East Sussex by Alan Stanton


The Pavilion begins the new Bauhaus

Hannes Meyers, ‘bauhaus’ and society, (1929)’Architecture and The Bauhaus.

The Bauhaus influence was not just about form but of philosophy.

As creative designers we are servants of the community – our work is a service to the people

Hannes Meyers, ‘bauhaus’ and society, (1929)

Bauhaus was an influential art and design movement that encouraged teachers and students to pursue their crafts together in design studios and workshops.

“It aimed to promote art for a modern world and demonstrate its use to society. To do so, it sought to integrate disciplines including the fine arts, architecture, craft, graphic design and photography.International communities of artists, designers and students embraced collaborative ways of working. They explored new materials, methods and media.”(Tate Britain)



Combined with a rich program of cultural events and entertainment alongside world class facilities, the  Pavilion’s story, distinctiveness and ambition is set to build talent,  attract and inspire creative entrepreneurs across the globe and put the Isle of Bute back at the top of the list as one of the best places to live, work and visit.

Wassily Chair. Photo courtesy of Knoll.

Isle of Bute’s Unique Architectural Heritage


Architecture is a ubiquitous form of storytelling. The built environment on Bute touches all aspects of life on the island. They are the places we create where we live, work and play.Their style captures the history and character of a place.


In combination with the natural landscape, Bute’s architectural story, and the key place of the Pavilion within it is the tangible expression of how past, present and future generations choose to live, uniquely setting it apart from all other islands.


Rothesay Pavilion


Mount Stuart


Rothesay Castle