Scottish Seabird Centre

Simpson & Brown, North Berwick, 2000


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Acute copper roof pitch defines main entrance 

Keith Hunter     Download Original

  • Acute copper roof pitch defines main entrance    
  • Set upon a rocky promontory beside the old harbour    
  • Scottish Seabird Centre by Simpson and Brown    
  • Scottish Seabird Centre by Simpson and Brown    
  • The site offers panoramic views     
  • The battered stone walls were inspired by the harbour walls    
  • Close-up view of dry stone plinth    
  • View from interior: Timber columns provide support to the larch timber roof trusses    
  • Cupola provides a skylight above allowing natural light to flood the atrium    
  • Site plan    
  • Entrance level plan    
  • Exhibition level plan    
  • Section    
  • Details of copper roof and cupola    
  • Details of copper roof and cupola    

Set upon a rocky promontory beside the old harbour and exposed to the sea and the weather, the centre allows visitors the opportunity to view the island birdlife by remote-control TV cameras

The centre was first as the hub of a communications network linked to discreetly located cameras among the bird colonies on the islands in the Forth, particularly the puffins on Fidra and the gannets on the Bass, one of the largest and most important colonies in the world.

Visitors are able to watch the seabirds on large screens, year round and in real time, as if on a camera obscura. At the same time, the birds themselves are protected from disturbance by visitors to the islands.

The new building is robustly built with a dry stone weather screen, rough sawn larch boarding and a copper roof supported on solid, larch trusses. Its unusual shape reflects the panoramic views of all the islands and the need for a welcoming entrance to draw people into this landmark building.


  • Begun: Mar 1999
  • Completed: Apr 2000
  • Floor area: 750m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £1.2M
  • Funding: Millennium Commission
  • Tender date: Jan 1999
  • Procurement: JCT
  • Address: The Harbour , North Berwick, EH39 4SS, United Kingdom

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