Forestry Commission Scotland
Forestry Commission Scotland / Grampian Conservancy
A.D. Walker Ltd
Armour & Partners
Fairhurst / Pick Everard
Following on from the Smithton project, FCS asked us to develop a design to extend their offices in the Bin Forest near Huntly. This beautiful woodland setting was home to a rather dated single-storey building that was trying to do too much. Our initial thoughts were to demolish the building but costs prevented this so we focussed on a renovation and extension.
The woodland setting was inspirational. It is a Scots Pine forest, with two mature examples very close to the building. Scots pine forests tend to be quite open so light is generally quite good. We felt that a design that encompassed the landscape to give a direct reference to the setting was imperative for the wellbeing of the occupants.
Scots Pine is another material that has potential for construction but when exposed to the elements can suffer from ‘blue stain’ especially if felled at the wrong time of year. We researched this material and decided that the expressed structure should be a hybrid of Douglas fir and Scots pine; the former used externally and the latter internally. Homegrown timber was again selected, milled, dried and brought to site for the construction.
We were also keen to express the structure in an innovative way; a stylised arrangement of trees within the building. A challenge for the engineers, but a series of bespoke connections allowed the structure to work effectively.
The large oversailing roof plate gave protection to the wall cladding, and deliberately diverse window patterns emerged to give interest. Internally, local hardwoods were supplied for the flooring and the whole extension was located in the small clearing oriented towards the car park and nestled between the mature trees.
High levels of insulation, passive stack ventilation, solar shading and biomass heating completed the environmental credentials