Project Profile

Location: Alloway

Frame: Hybrid with steel bracing

Timber: Douglas fir

Architect: Simpson and Brown

Robbie Burns Museum – a Douglas Fir frame

A spectacular Douglas fir timber frame sits at the heart of the new Robbie Burns Museum.


The Douglas Fir frame is at the heart of this £17 million Robbie Burns museum project, by The National Trust for Scotland, to create a stunning new museum at the birthplace of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns.

The Robbie Burns museum is a remarkable modern design, featuring an organic wave-shaped roof, created by architects Simpson & Brown. In keeping with this contemporary design, the frame combines timber with steel joints and steel cables. The frame itself will be constructed using locally sourced Douglas Fir, with some single pieces of timber being as long as nine meters.

The hybrid frame of traditionally jointed and steel flitch plated engineered joints is at the very heart of this building. Much of the bracing is achieved using steel cables and the contoured roof outriggers create the impression of movement on the exterior elevations. The timber frame is built from 129 cubic meters of locally sourced Douglas fir from a forest north of the Scottish border.

The project itself has been some years in the planning and required £5.5 million in funding from the Scottish Government and was built on land donated by South Ayrshire Council worth almost £3 million. Carpenter Oak & Woodland had an in-depth involvement in the planning stage, working with the client, architect and engineers for two years.

This isn’t the first time that our Angus yard in Scotland has worked on a high-profile Scottish public building, having been responsible for the frame at the spectacular Loch Lomond.