Bell Ingram Design plays key role in £1.6m restoration project

After 18 months under lock and key, Braemar Castle opened its doors in late summer to reveal a startling transformation.

The structure has been restored to its former glory with its turrets, towers and curtain wall rendered in a traditional oatmeal shade, while the castle’s treasured collection has been returned to a now wind and watertight interior.

This soft opening marks a key moment for Braemar Community Ltd., whose volunteers have carefully unpacked the Castle’s treasured items, from the smallest pieces of cutlery to giant four-poster beds.

Bell Ingram Design has been at the heart of the £1.6 million project to restore the A-Listed landmark to its former glory, with conservation architect Susan Burness heading up the team alongside main contractor Harper & Allen Masonry.

Susan Burness said: “The restoration work is a key milestone in the wider plans to transform Braemar Castle and its Estate into a cultural destination and top-class visitor attraction that compliments the amazing landscape and helps promote Braemar as a learning and engagement hub.

“It is an extraordinary building with a fascinating history, and it’s been an honour to work with Braemar Community Ltd. to deliver such an important community project.

“I believe that the work we have done will future proof the building and allow the Trust to preserve the furnishings and artworks which call Braemar Castle home.”

Most of the work was focussed on the external fabric of the building, which included structural repair, and the re-harling and lime-washing of exterior masonry and the curtain wall in an oatmeal colour which was based on a small sample of historic lime wash which was uncovered when the cement harl was removed.

Susan continued: “The restored building reflects the original colour, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the Castle. Essential interior works, including electrical upgrade, window repairs and drainage upgrade, now provide a more appropriate environment for the collections stopping any further detrimental effects and providing a more pleasant environment for visitors.”

Fog House

Earlier this year, Bell Ingram volunteers spent three days picking heather on the Deeside hillside at Invercauld Estate.

Their job was to collect 80-bales of heather for professional thatcher Brian Wilson to use as material to re-roof a small decorative garden feature – known as the Fog House – in the grounds of Braemar Castle.

The volunteering days were the brainchild of Iain Cram, Director of Bell Ingram Design, who is part of the team restoring the Castle.

Iain said: “The restoration of the Fog House marks an important milestone in the ongoing transformation of Braemar Castle and its grounds to ensure its long-term protection for the enjoyment of visitors from all over the world.

“We are proud to do our part to ensure the survival of this important building for future generations and our partnership with Braemar Community Ltd. has also given our employees a great opportunity to volunteer and make a positive difference to the community.

“Volunteering days like this are a fantastic boost to our conservation and outdoor learning efforts as well as promoting a sense of wellbeing and connection between our staff and the places where they work.”

About Braemar Castle

Braemar Castle, located at the Haughs of Dee, has been an army barracks, family home and visitor attraction since it was built in 1628 by John Erskine, the 6th Earl of Mar as his Highland hunting lodge.

It was a target in the first Jacobite uprising in 1689 and torched by John Farquharson of Inverey. Following the Battle of Culloden, the castle was used as a garrison for Hanoverian soldiers to suppress any lingering Jacobite support.

The castle was gifted to Braemar Community Trust Ltd. on a 50-year lease by owner Captain Alywne Farquharson, 16th Laird of Invercauld and Chief of Clan Farquharson, in 2007. Since then, it has been managed by the Braemar Community Ltd., its interior kept just as it looked when the laird was in residence.

The community group, supported by the help of an anonymous benefactor, helped secure the contents of the castle and the volunteers raised half a million pounds, locally and from generous private donors, which bolstered major funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland to make the Castle wind and watertight and safeguard its future.

Raising The Standard Project

The £1.6m restoration is part of the castle’s Raising the Standard Project, which has been supported by The Prince’s Foundation, who acted as advisors to Braemar Community Ltd throughout the project.

As well as conserving the fabric, developing the landscaping and work to make the castle more accessible, the project aims to innovatively re-interpret the castle’s story and introduce new opportunities for learning and engagement, and to elevate the castle’s visitor experience creating to a top-class attraction.

Initiatives include a new website, online booking and presence on the Bloomberg Connects app alongside more than 200 places of interest around the world, placing Braemar Castle on the international radar. Together with this sits a full programme of activities including outreach within the wider area and events to be held at the castle which engage the community with the heritage on its doorstep.

The castle’s rebirth has also received royal backing: The Prince’s Foundation has had an advisory role throughout the project development, while a young student linked to its Building Craft Programme has been hands-on removing the old cement harling and applying traditional lime replacement.

Find out more at www.raisingthestandard.org.uk

Our people

Iain Cram

Iain Cram

Architect
Design
Tel: 01738 621 121

About: Iain is Partner in charge of Bell Ingram Design. His main role is working with clients on projects from the initial concept, through site searches, funding challenges and statutory consents. He's an experienced and talented architect with a long track record, working on a diverse range of projects from small scale residential through to large public, commercial, residential and tourism builds. Interests: Architecture, Building Surveying, Trustee of the Scottish Lime Centre, a highly respected historic building skills training centre.

Get in touch

We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

    New showroom for Stirling SKODA

    Creating a new modern facility for this iconic brand.

    Brief

    In 2016 Bell Ingram Design (BID) was appointed to design a new showroom for Skoda West End located in Stirling. The basis of the design was to create new modern facility positioned on a site by Forthside Way, located approximately half a mile from the city centre. The new premises includes showroom space for eight cars and contains a workshop garage for MOT services.

    Process

    The existing area was to be cleared of trees and shrubs and de-stoned to include a grass edge to the site. The selected location for the showroom presented challenging ground conditions, consequently, the design was approached with careful consideration of the building’s foundation.

    Outcome

    A crucial part of the brief was to incorporate a variety of signage for Skoda which was visible from all relevant approaches to the site for heightened consumer interaction. This was to include branded flags, logo walls on active frontages and a prominent entrance portal for customers. Internally, a mezzanine level was included to create more floor area which contains an additional manager office and meeting space with glazed screening to overlook the double height showroom below.

    Our people

    Skoda Garage | West End Stirling

    Get in touch

    We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

      Our people

      Iain Cram

      Iain Cram

      Architect
      Design
      Tel: 01738 621 121

      About: Iain is Partner in charge of Bell Ingram Design. His main role is working with clients on projects from the initial concept, through site searches, funding challenges and statutory consents. He's an experienced and talented architect with a long track record, working on a diverse range of projects from small scale residential through to large public, commercial, residential and tourism builds. Interests: Architecture, Building Surveying, Trustee of the Scottish Lime Centre, a highly respected historic building skills training centre.

      Get in touch

      We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

        Article posted on 01/09/2022

        Low Carbon Build, Aberdeenshire

        Creating a low carbon office for Forestry and Land Scotland’s Durris Depot near Banchory.

        Brief

        Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is the Scottish Government agency responsible for managing our national forests and land. With around 1,000 employees, they operate numerous offices, hubs, depots, visitor centres and a fleet of vehicles for travel and forestry use. Taking action on everyday working practices is vital for FLS to become a greener organisation and to help reach Net Zero, they are looking closely at their infrastructure to ensure everything they do makes them more sustainable.

        Bell Ingram Design was engaged to design a low carbon office for FLS’s Durris Depot near Banchory. Along with the construction of the new building, the brief also included extensive upgrades to the external yard areas to provide additional parking and improvements to the day-to-day operation of the depot.

        The goal was to create a sustainable and inclusive workplace which embedded our client’s green objectives in its design, construction and running.

        The project was led by senior architect Murray Fleming, supported by senior architectural technologist Scott Ramsay and architectural technologist Lauren Livingston.

        Process

        A flexible fit-out created a building which meets the needs of both staff members and site visitors. There are no allocated desks, instead the office allows for quick laptop connection at any workstation by any user. Collaboration spaces and an external terrace further extend the flexibility of the working environment.

        Building materials reflect the build’s low carbon credentials with castor-oil-based open cell spray insulation providing exceptional air tightness and sustainably sourced larch cladding used for the timber exterior.

        Elsewhere, aluminium clad timber windows and doors combine the low embodied energy of timber with the long-term performance of aluminium (and its ability to recycle at end of building life). Aluminium profile sheeting is used on the roof as well, again for its longevity and recycling credentials.

        To minimise energy consumption, the orientation and glazing maximise passive solar energy gains, with external louvres providing protection from summer overheating. Summer cooling is enhanced by sliding doors to the staff room and main office. All lighting is LED although the high levels of daylighting reduces the need for artificial lighting.

        Heating, which provides all hot water, is from an air source heat pump serving water-based underfloor heating. With 100% renewable electricity available this approach allows the building to operate with a fully renewable energy source.

        Outcome

        Embracing the Civil Service’s ‘smarter working’ principles of using technology, property and leadership to give workers more flexibility over how, when and where they work has enabled Bell Ingram Design to create an optimised, low carbon workplace for our client which demonstrates FLS’s commitment to sustainability as they strive to become a greener organisation and ultimately reach their Net Zero goal.

        The project demonstrated Bell Ingram Design’s full range of expertise which encompassed taking the project from inception to completion. This included: design, building warrant approval, tender package and contract administration during construction.

        In many ways Durris offers a glimpse into the future of workplace construction. Although builds like this are still the exception, we hope to encourage others in the sector to consider the benefits of using sustainable materials, making renewable energy choices and incorporating smarter working principles.

        Our people

        Murray Fleming

        Murray Fleming

        Architect
        Senior Associate
        Tel: 01463 717 799

        About: As Senior Architect based in Bell Ingram’s Beauly office, Murray is responsible for the company's architectural services covering the Highlands and Islands. He has extensive design and project management experience in a wide range of building sectors, including residential, commercial, public and healthcare. Interests: Full architectural design service, Planning advice & submissions, Feasibility studies, Condition surveys, Building warrant advice & submissions, Administration of construction contracts.

        Get in touch

        We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

          Our people

          Scott Ramsay

          Scott Ramsay

          Associate
          Design
          Tel: 01307 462 516

          About: Scott provides support to the project architects and building surveyors throughout the company in the preparation of drawings and specifications for the submission of Planning Applications and Building Warrants, through to tender and construction stages. During the construction phase of a project he takes on the role of contract administrator. Scott has been trained in the use of Revit Architecture, allowing him to create real-time 3D models. Interests: Architecture, BIM (Building Information Modelling)

          Get in touch

          We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

            Our people

            Lauren Livingston

            Lauren Livingston

            Architectural Technologist
            Design
            Tel: 01307 462 516

            About: Lauren joined Bell Ingram Design in 2017 with a First Class BSc (Hons) in Architectural Technology. Following her success in winning the student CIAT Aspiration Award, she has continued to be an active member of CIAT as an Associate Member. Lauren works from our Forfar office providing assistance to our Principal Architects and Planner on projects throughout the country. Interests: Architecture, Building Conservation, BIM (Building Information Modelling), Sustainability.

            Get in touch

            We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

              Article posted on 29/03/2022

              Contemporary Rural Home, Glencassley

              Replacing a derelict building with a bespoke modern home in stunning surroundings.

              Brief

              Bell Ingram Design (BID) was appointed in the last quarter of 2019 to deliver full architectural services for a bespoke contemporary home which would replace an existing cottage that has been derelict for over 20 years.

              The decision to construct a new build dwelling was not one taken lightly by the client, but the feasibility study conducted by our architects proved bringing the existing property up to current standards would not be economically feasible, and a new build property was the more viable option.

              The client’s brief was to create a three bedroom home with a large open plan living area. This gave BID the opportunity to explore the potential for a truly contemporary design approach which fits unobtrusively into its stunning surroundings.

              Process

              On behalf of our client we have obtained Planning Approval and Building Warrant Consent for this bespoke, modern and contemporary house design. The project is currently out for tender and we are looking forward to progressing on to site in the coming months.

              Outcome

              A crucial part of the brief was to incorporate a variety of signage for Skoda which was visible from all relevant approaches to the site for heightened consumer interaction. This was to include branded flags, logo walls on active frontages and a prominent entrance portal for customers. Internally, a mezzanine level was included to create more floor area which contains an additional manager office and meeting space with glazed screening to overlook the double height showroom below.

              Our people

              Murray Fleming

              Murray Fleming

              Architect
              Senior Associate
              Tel: 01463 717 799

              About: As Senior Architect based in Bell Ingram’s Beauly office, Murray is responsible for the company's architectural services covering the Highlands and Islands. He has extensive design and project management experience in a wide range of building sectors, including residential, commercial, public and healthcare. Interests: Full architectural design service, Planning advice & submissions, Feasibility studies, Condition surveys, Building warrant advice & submissions, Administration of construction contracts.

              Get in touch

              We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                Our people

                Lauren Livingston

                Lauren Livingston

                Architectural Technologist
                Design
                Tel: 01307 462 516

                About: Lauren joined Bell Ingram Design in 2017 with a First Class BSc (Hons) in Architectural Technology. Following her success in winning the student CIAT Aspiration Award, she has continued to be an active member of CIAT as an Associate Member. Lauren works from our Forfar office providing assistance to our Principal Architects and Planner on projects throughout the country. Interests: Architecture, Building Conservation, BIM (Building Information Modelling), Sustainability.

                Get in touch

                We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                  Article posted on 13/09/21

                  Giving clients the inside track on planning

                  Bell Ingram’s Planning Consultant Catherine Newton has provided professional planning and design advice for hill tracks throughout Scotland over the past 10 years for a variety of clients.

                  Brief

                  Statutory consents are required for the formation, alteration or maintenance of all hill, farm and forestry tracks in Scotland. Planning permission and/or Prior Notification to the planning authority need to be secured before any work construction can start on site.

                  We have provided professional planning and design advice for tracks throughout Scotland over the past 10 years for a variety of clients including farmers, SSE, SPEN, Scottish Water, festival organisers and sporting tenants. All of these have been in different locations and for a variety of uses.

                  Process

                  We have the experience and a good understanding of the relevant legislation, policies and the guidelines published by planning authorities, Naturescot, SEPA and the Forestry and Land Scotland to inform the appropriate siting, design and construction of tracks.

                  We can also establish any natural environment designations, landscape or National Park designations and any implication these may have for the development proposed. We can then identify from the start if environmental consultants need to be appointed to mitigate any potential adverse impacts on peat, water environment or landscape and visual amenity.

                  Outcome

                  Bell Ingram Design always ensures that applications are supported by sufficient information to be validated and determined without unnecessary delay and additional costs to the client. Our experience is that by been involved from the start of the process, we can provide a professional input which in the client’s best interests.

                  With this approach we recently secured planning permission for a new hill track for an energy company to be retained for future use by the farmer, which was determined well within the statutory period of eight weeks and within the budget agreed at the outset.

                  Our people

                  Catherine Newton

                  Catherine Newton

                  Chartered Town Planner
                  Utilities & Renewables
                  Tel: 01738 621 121

                  About: Catherine has worked for Bell Ingram as a Planning Consultant since 2012. Her planning career over the past 30 years has included public and private sector, government agency and charity roles. She brings to every new project an extensive knowledge and understanding of planning legislation, as well as an insight into the requirements of the decision makers and statutory consultees. Interests: Planning, Development and Environmental Legislation throughout UK.

                  Get in touch

                  We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                    Article posted on 01/09/2022

                    Onnela is a ‘place of happiness’ in Kishorn

                    This stunning four-bedroom ‘Honka’ home uses natural building materials to create a warm and harmonious living environment with high indoor air quality that reduces stress and improve wellbeing. The property is also extremely energy efficiency.

                    Brief

                    Our client wanted to build a four bedroom house on the site of an old petrol station in the Highland hamlet of Kishorn. However, the house was to be supplied by Honka, a Finnish company specialising in log homes.

                    The construction team flew over from Finland to assemble the house which would be set onto a base provided by a Scottish contractor. Once the log walls were constructed, the local contractor would then return and complete the roofing, heating and electrical works and all of the external works.

                    Bell Ingram Design provided a full architectural service for this build including Planning preparation and approval process, Building Warrant preparation and approval process, coordination of the tender for the construction works and Contract Administration Services during the construction phase itself.

                    Process

                    This was a complex build which required precise co-ordination between our team, our chosen Scottish contractor and the Honka design team.

                    Ensuring that the property would comply with Scottish building regulations also required input from both Finnish and Scottish structural engineers. This construction technique may have been common throughout Scandinavia for centuries, but a considerable amount of supporting information was required to satisfy the local Building Control Department regarding the durability and long term performance of the solid log wall construction.

                    The redevelopment of a petrol station site also required extensive investigations to identify potential contamination with areas replaced with clean infill material.

                    Outcome

                    The owner named the house ‘Onnela’ which means ‘place of happiness’ in Finnish, and it is very much a showcase for the many benefits of solid log built homes which have been appreciated for centuries not just in Scandanavia but across the globe

                    From the smell of the pine wood, to the ability of the solid timbers to even out changes in interior humidity, to the general sense of well-being that living in a solid wood building brings for the inhabitants, the completed house demonstrates all of these qualities.

                    And while the project was certainly challenging, the outcome has been well worth the effort creating a stunning property constructed from Finnish Arctic pine set in the delightful village of Kishorn, near to the famous Bealach Na Ba pass and on the North Coast 500 route.

                    Our people

                    Murray Fleming

                    Murray Fleming

                    Architect
                    Senior Associate
                    Tel: 01463 717 799

                    About: As Senior Architect based in Bell Ingram’s Beauly office, Murray is responsible for the company's architectural services covering the Highlands and Islands. He has extensive design and project management experience in a wide range of building sectors, including residential, commercial, public and healthcare. Interests: Full architectural design service, Planning advice & submissions, Feasibility studies, Condition surveys, Building warrant advice & submissions, Administration of construction contracts.

                    Get in touch

                    We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                      Article posted on 01/09/2022

                      Shepherd’s Cottage, Badanloch Estate

                      Transforming a traditional estate property into a stunning base for field sports enthusiasts.

                      Brief

                      In 2019 Bell Ingram Design (BID) was appointed by Badanloch Estate to refurbish and extend their former Shepherd’s Cottage into a high-quality holiday let.

                      The client required full architectural services which encompassed taking the project from inception to completion. This included: concept design, detailed design, building warrant approval, tender package and contract administration during construction.

                      Process

                      The basis of the design was to create a comfortable, relaxing and practical arrangement to the ground and first floors of the existing cottage. This included adding a dormer to the rear of the property to give adequate height for an additional shower room on the first floor.

                      Due to the property’s rural location and limited space, a functional, multi-purpose space was required and it was decided to extend to the front elevation, creating a spacious, entrance vestibule/drying room. The room was designed to meet the needs of guests who come to enjoy the fishing, stalking and hill walking on the estate, enhancing and improving their experience with practical and sensible solutions.

                      The design and materials of the extension contrast with the existing stone walls and Scottish slate roof. However, the use of the estate colours marry the two together.

                      Outcome

                      The renovation and extension to Shepherd’s Cottage was completed in Spring 2021, following lengthy delays due to the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions imposed in 2020. Since its completion, the cottage has been welcoming many visitors to the estate, allowing them to relax, enjoy and experience one of Scotland’s most stunning highland landscapes.

                      Our people

                      Murray Fleming

                      Murray Fleming

                      Architect
                      Senior Associate
                      Tel: 01463 717 799

                      About: As Senior Architect based in Bell Ingram’s Beauly office, Murray is responsible for the company's architectural services covering the Highlands and Islands. He has extensive design and project management experience in a wide range of building sectors, including residential, commercial, public and healthcare. Interests: Full architectural design service, Planning advice & submissions, Feasibility studies, Condition surveys, Building warrant advice & submissions, Administration of construction contracts.

                      Get in touch

                      We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                        Our people

                        Lauren Livingston

                        Lauren Livingston

                        Architectural Technologist
                        Design
                        Tel: 01307 462 516

                        About: Lauren joined Bell Ingram Design in 2017 with a First Class BSc (Hons) in Architectural Technology. Following her success in winning the student CIAT Aspiration Award, she has continued to be an active member of CIAT as an Associate Member. Lauren works from our Forfar office providing assistance to our Principal Architects and Planner on projects throughout the country. Interests: Architecture, Building Conservation, BIM (Building Information Modelling), Sustainability.

                        Get in touch

                        We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                          Article posted on 20/11/2020

                          Full Design Service Renovation Project

                          Derelict agricultural building transformed into a stylish holiday home which compliments the landscape and makes the most of the stunning views across Glen Clova and Glen Moy.

                          Brief

                          Bell Ingram Design (BID) were asked to convert and extend a derelict bothy into a modern, three-bedroom holiday home. The property is located on an Angus estate and the client had immediately seen the potential of its stunning views across to Glen Moy and Glen Glova.

                          This was a full design service brief which involved securing planning and building warrant approval, managing the tender process, and delivering full project management on site.

                           

                          Process

                          An open plan living space was created in the main bothy section with existing and new openings used to maintain the agricultural appearance. A Siberian larch-clad extension was added to the north side of the property to house a bedroom, utility room, bathroom and sunroom with a large picture window opening onto a glazed veranda to take advantage of the views all year round. 

                          Outcome

                          This once derelict bothy is now an attractive, modern, three-bedroom dwelling house, which has been designed to take advantage of the beautiful surrounding countryside. The traditional stone bothy has been complemented by the use of natural materials on the contemporary extension. Internally the layout has been designed to provide a functional and comfortable environment. Our client was extremely happy with the finished building and regularly visit throughout the year with their friends and family.

                          Our people

                          Glen Moy Bothy | Angus Glens

                          Get in touch

                          We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                            Our people

                            Scott Ramsay

                            Scott Ramsay

                            Associate
                            Design
                            Tel: 01307 462 516

                            About: Scott provides support to the project architects and building surveyors throughout the company in the preparation of drawings and specifications for the submission of Planning Applications and Building Warrants, through to tender and construction stages. During the construction phase of a project he takes on the role of contract administrator. Scott has been trained in the use of Revit Architecture, allowing him to create real-time 3D models. Interests: Architecture, BIM (Building Information Modelling)

                            Get in touch

                            We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                              Article posted on 23/09/2020

                              Remote Lunch Bothy, Highland Estate

                              Client calls on BID’s planning expertise to deliver a bespoke lunch stop for shooting parties.

                              Brief

                              An existing client wanted to build a private bothy on their remote Highland Estate. The vision was to create a property which would better cater for paying guests during the grouse shooting season, generating additional income for the Estate and employment opportunities for local people. It would also be used by the client’s family and estate workers managing the moorland all year round. On this project BID provided planning and design services.

                              Process

                              We agreed a suitable location with the client and designed a simple and secure wood structure which was accessible via existing hill tracks. There was no requirement for connection to services. We submitted a planning application supported by a reasoned justification for the new bothy which, as the use included a shooting bothy, did not benefit from agricultural permitted development rights.

                              Outcome

                              Planning permission was granted with the statutory timescale of eight weeks and our success led onto further requests from new clients and owners of Highland Estates for Bell Ingram Design to advise on new and replacement bothy buildings.

                              Our people

                              Catherine Newton

                              Catherine Newton

                              Chartered Town Planner
                              Utilities & Renewables
                              Tel: 01738 621 121

                              About: Catherine has worked for Bell Ingram as a Planning Consultant since 2012. Her planning career over the past 30 years has included public and private sector, government agency and charity roles. She brings to every new project an extensive knowledge and understanding of planning legislation, as well as an insight into the requirements of the decision makers and statutory consultees. Interests: Planning, Development and Environmental Legislation throughout UK.

                              Get in touch

                              We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                                Our people

                                Lauren Livingston

                                Lauren Livingston

                                Architectural Technologist
                                Design
                                Tel: 01307 462 516

                                About: Lauren joined Bell Ingram Design in 2017 with a First Class BSc (Hons) in Architectural Technology. Following her success in winning the student CIAT Aspiration Award, she has continued to be an active member of CIAT as an Associate Member. Lauren works from our Forfar office providing assistance to our Principal Architects and Planner on projects throughout the country. Interests: Architecture, Building Conservation, BIM (Building Information Modelling), Sustainability.

                                Get in touch

                                We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                                  Article posted on 05/08/2020

                                  RSPB Bird Hide, Udale Bay Reserve

                                  Replacing an end of life hide with a larger structure that featured an interpretation space and full access for wheelchair users.

                                  Brief

                                  The RSPB’s Udale Bay Reserve is a peaceful, intertidal bay on the Cromarty Firth which is home to thousands of waders, ducks and geese. With our experience of working in protected natural habitats, Bell Ingram Design was engaged to replace an end of life hide on the site with a new, larger structure that would include an interpretation space along with full access for wheelchair users. 

                                  Process

                                  The design approach was for an all timber structure with larch cladding which was left untreated allowing it weather naturally to a silvery finish. The building was set on stilts to minimise its impact on the immediate surrounding ground.

                                  Careful consideration was given to the ergonomics of the seated viewing windows so that all of these could be used by both wheelchair and non wheelchair users. A large floor-to-ceiling viewing window was incorporated providing a panoramic view over the bay, another wall included child height windows allowing up close viewing of the bird life in the trees and shrubs next to the building. Dedicated space was also provided for an artwork by a local artist which fills the hide with colour depicting the changing seasons along with the range of seasonal birds that visit the Reserve.

                                  Outcome

                                  The building has proved to be very successful, we were very pleased to read the following entry in the Visitors’ Book from RSPB members visiting from England shortly after the building’s opening: “What a fantastic hide, we have never seen such an excellent hide catering for all ages, well done!”

                                  With feedback like that, we consider that ‘Job done’!

                                  Our people

                                  Murray Fleming

                                  Murray Fleming

                                  Architect
                                  Senior Associate
                                  Tel: 01463 717 799

                                  About: As Senior Architect based in Bell Ingram’s Beauly office, Murray is responsible for the company's architectural services covering the Highlands and Islands. He has extensive design and project management experience in a wide range of building sectors, including residential, commercial, public and healthcare. Interests: Full architectural design service, Planning advice & submissions, Feasibility studies, Condition surveys, Building warrant advice & submissions, Administration of construction contracts.

                                  Get in touch

                                  We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                                    Article posted on 03/08/2020

                                    The Webster Memorial Theatre, Arbroath

                                    Award-winning project transformed historic theatre into a modern and fully compliant visitor attraction.

                                    Brief

                                    Our client Angus Council engaged Bell Ingram Design in 2004 to fully refurbish and transform the historic Webster Memorial Theatre in Arbroath into a modern visitor attraction and improve the overall audience experience. Externally the Main Façade, built in 1867, was in poor condition with the stonework badly eroded and spalling, plus there was a particular focus on Health and Safety and the Disability Discrimination Act, with the theatre facing closure if not swiftly brought up to acceptable standards.

                                    Process

                                    A grant from the Town Heritage Initiative was sufficient to fully fund the renovation of the external stonework. Improvements were made to the provision of public spaces including the creation of an attractive and inviting entrance area and foyer. The main auditorium was completely remodelled to significantly enhance sightlines, lighting sound and acoustics, with disabled access fully integrated with the overall design. Radical enhancements to the Assembly Hall provided additional multi-function performance and conference space. Work on the theatre also tied into an opportunity to improve the existing streetscape.

                                    Outcome

                                    The Webster Theatre is now a fully accessible, multi-functional and successful professional theatre. The success of the project can be demonstrated by the range of awards it has received since opening in January 2008. The theatre received the award for Best Example of Environmental Improvement/Conservation 2008 from the Dundee Institute of Architects, the Ron MacFarlane Award for the Best Accessible Building in Angus in 2008 and the Angus Council 2009 Excellence Award for Project of the Year.

                                    Our people

                                    The Webster Memorial Theatre | Arbroath

                                    Get in touch

                                    We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                                      Our people

                                      Scott Ramsay

                                      Scott Ramsay

                                      Associate
                                      Design
                                      Tel: 01307 462 516

                                      About: Scott provides support to the project architects and building surveyors throughout the company in the preparation of drawings and specifications for the submission of Planning Applications and Building Warrants, through to tender and construction stages. During the construction phase of a project he takes on the role of contract administrator. Scott has been trained in the use of Revit Architecture, allowing him to create real-time 3D models. Interests: Architecture, BIM (Building Information Modelling)

                                      Get in touch

                                      We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                                        Article posted on 21/07/2020

                                        The Lookout, RSPB Insh Marshes Reserve

                                        Combining beauty with accessibility to create a hide in one of the most important wetlands in Europe.

                                        Brief

                                        The RSPB engaged Bell Ingram Design to provide a replacement building for a bird hide at its Insh Marshes reserve, which is one of the most important wetlands in Europe. The new building needed to fulfil a number of important additional functions:

                                        • Provide a panoramic viewpoint over the marshes and to the mountains beyond.
                                        • Provide a shelter for group talks by the reserve rangers.
                                        • Provide an interpretation space for information on the life of the marshes.
                                        • Act as a focal point for visitors to the reserve and assisting through high quality design to promote the reserve.
                                        • And last, but not least, allow access for all abilities which the previous building did not achieve.

                                        Process

                                        The approach was to create a building on two levels with both areas accessible to all abilities. A lower enclosed level would provide a sheltered viewing space, interpretation space and space for group talks while an open upper level would provide unhindered 360 degree views over the reserve.

                                        The building itself was designed with a circular form ‘sliced’ through with a fully glazed floor to ceiling ‘viewing wall’ projecting out over a steep banking running down to the marshes below. This form was designed to create both a sense of shelter and at the same time drama for visitors.

                                        This approach was made possible by utilising the topography of the site to allow full wheelchair access to both levels of the building.

                                        Outcome

                                        Located as it is in both a National Nature Reserve and National Park, the design took great care to minimise disturbance to the landscape.

                                        The building has proved to be very popular with the general public, and has helped to bring increased numbers of visitors to the Reserve, particularly local schools to use the classroom space.

                                        Recognition for the project also came shortly after its opening with its inclusion in the Cairngorm National Park Design Awards shortlist.

                                        Our people

                                        Murray Fleming

                                        Murray Fleming

                                        Architect
                                        Senior Associate
                                        Tel: 01463 717 799

                                        About: As Senior Architect based in Bell Ingram’s Beauly office, Murray is responsible for the company's architectural services covering the Highlands and Islands. He has extensive design and project management experience in a wide range of building sectors, including residential, commercial, public and healthcare. Interests: Full architectural design service, Planning advice & submissions, Feasibility studies, Condition surveys, Building warrant advice & submissions, Administration of construction contracts.

                                        Get in touch

                                        We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                                          Article posted on 23/07/2020