Abbotsford Visitors Centre, Scotland, Scottish Borders Building, Photos
Abbotsford House Visitor Centre
New Scottish Architecture in Melrose, The Scottish Borders building design by LDN
14 + 13 Jun 2013
Abbotsford Conservation & Visitors Building
Abbotsford Conservation & Visitors Building, Melrose
Design: LDN Architects
RIBA National Award Winner
Location: Scottish Borders, southern Scotland
Abbotsford, Visitor Reception Building
Abbotsford, the creation of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), is one of Scotland’s great cultural sites. In 2007 the Abbotsford Trust was established to safeguard its future through much needed conservation and development work. The first phase involved the creation of a new visitor entrance, car park and Visitor Reception Building (VRB) incorporating a reception, café, shop, toilets and introductory exhibition displays.
Conceived as a modern version of a gate lodge and sited at the eastern edge of Abbotsford’s outstanding designed landscape adjacent to the historic footpath of Borders Abbeys Way, the VRB welcomes visitors warmly to Abbotsford, guards the entrance to Sir Walter’s intimate world and acts as a symbolic new gateway to Abbotsford.
The two-storey building is built partly into the hillside to reduce its scale and has a calm contemporary appearance and open plan as a foil to the highly decorated and hierarchical Scottish Baronial architecture of Sir Walter’s masterpiece.
The proposal for a new building and car park in such a precious designed landscape was contentious and the subject of great scrutiny. Location, size and impact on its historic setting all had to be carefully considered. An options appraisal was carried out and developing designs were advertised and presented at public meetings and to local community councils.
Timber construction is used to form every aspect of the building and its compact rectangular envelope is highly insulated and airtight, reducing the building’s heat loss and exceeding the Scottish Borders Council’s policy in terms of compliance with SPP6 and building CO2 emissions. The building was tested for air infiltration and achieved a value of 2.64 m3/hr/m2@50 Pa.
The flat roof is finished with a sedum blanket that minimizes the impact of the building’s footprint by partly “recovering” the natural ground lost due to the construction of the building and reducing rainwater run-off up to 40%. Rainwater is stored in a reclamation tank and reused to flush the WCs.
The building’s main spaces are naturally ventilated and a heat recovery air-handling unit serves the exhibition space and also recovers heat from the toilets. Underfloor heating in every space is provided using a ground source heat pump connected to bore holes under the carpark.
As much natural light as possible has been allowed into the building to reduce the need for artificial lighting. Energy-saving lights controlled by motion detectors are installed throughout the building.
Building cost: £3.2 million
Client: Abbotsford Trust
Abbotsford Conservation & Visitors Building Melrose images from Paul Zanre
Abbotsford House Visitor Centre design : LDN Architects
RIBA Awards 2013 : RIBA National Award Winner – 13 Jun 2013
Location: Abbotsford, Melrose, Roxburghshire, TD6 9BQ, Scotland
Architecture in Scotland
Contemporary Scottish Architecture
Scottish Architecture Designs – chronological list
Abbotsford House, Scottish Borders
Historic Building in Scottish Borders, close by:
Mellerstain Houser, near Kelso
William Adam; Robert Adam
photo © Adrian Welch
Historic Building in Scottish Borders:
Historic Scottish Borders house
Comments / photos for the Abbotsford Conservation & Visitors Building – Melrose Architecture page welcome