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Case Study 15 – Waterston House

Name of building
Waterston House / Scottish Ornithologists’ Club Headquarters
Date Completed
Building type
Aberlady, East Lothian
Simpson & Brown Architects
Scottish Ornithologists’ Club
Main contractor

John Dennis & Co Ltd

Anticipated lifespan of building
100 + years

Timber technologies

This project is held as an exemplar for the use of Scottish timber in the construction industry.

The main structural frame is untreated green Douglas fir with traditional pegged and tenon jointing. The wall framing, sarking and battens are sitka spruce.

The wall cladding is untreated larch, and the flooring in the entrance and gallery space is oak, all home grown. The building also features hand-made and finished Douglas fir structural frames, doors and windows.

Most of the timber was sourced from Scotland and provided by the Forestry Commission Scotland.

Special timber-related features

The surrounding landscape has been specifically designed to encourage local bird life, and incorporates a pond which has varying water conditions, from fast moving to still, providing different habitats for the birds. The pond also acts as a storage reservoir for rainwater collected from the roof, and is integrated with the services strategy for the building.

Background to building

Waterston House is the headquarters for the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club and houses the most comprehensive ornithological library in Scotland. The new building adopts a simple form, designed to have minimal impact on its surroundings, and accommodates the library, a lecture hall/exhibition space, offices and archive storage.

European Larch is a hard strong timber with an attractive warm reddish brown or terracotta colour with gold streaks, which fades to silver after prolonged

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