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Case Study 9 – Glentress Peel

Name of building
Glentress Peel, visitor facilities
Date Completed
2011 (currently under construction)
Building type
Glentress Forest, near Peebles
Gaia Architects
Forestry Commission
Main contractor

Forestry Commission (from Glentress Forest)

Anticipated lifespan of building
100 years

Timber technologies

Douglas fir was used for the trusses, external cladding and battens, ceiling lining boards and decking. The linings and skirtings are Scottish larch and Douglas fir.

The window frames are Scottish oak, and the internal doors are Scottish birch.

Special timber-related features

A bespoke truss structure supports the roof of the buildings, fabricated from timber from Glentress forest itself.

Timber I-beams form the structural element of the external walls.

Preservative-free timber has been used for the cladding, decking and ceiling lining boards.

Exposed timber is detailed for maximum durability, primarily through the use of heartwood timber, eliminating the need to treat it with preservatives.

South facing glazing, solar shading, high levels of air tightness, cellulose (recycled newspaper) insulation, and the inclusion of thermal mass elements allow the building to come close to requiring zero active heating and cooling systems.

The breathing wall and roof construction, along with the use of hygroscopic surface finishes and natural ventilation, regulate moisture levels. Together with solvent-free paints and formaldehyde-free timber products, this ensures that a healthy indoor environment is achieved.

Background to building

Glentress Forest has developed its recreation opportunities significantly in recent years and is now a vibrant and popular leisure resource receiving around 250,000 visitors every year.

As well as the traditional forest walks, the forest contains a network of mountain bike trails, a forest drive, opportunities for watching live pictures of ospreys in the Tweed valley, and several community-based recreational projects.

The new visitors building will contain a café, bike shop and hire centre, osprey viewing area, education and exhibition space, showers, WCs and ranger facilities, providing a permanent, purpose-built and sustainable facility for use by the growing number of visitors and staff at Glentress.

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