Project Profile

Location: Aberlady

Timber: Douglas fir

Architect: Simpson and Brown

building with Douglas Fir

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club – building with Douglas Fir

This beautifully simple building with Douglas Fir is home to the most comprehensive ornithological library in Scotland.


Project profile

Waterston House is the headquarters of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club at Aberlady. It accommodates a library, lecture hall and exhibition space, offices and archive store. The reason the Scottish Ornithologists’ club choose a timber construction for their new build was so the building would have minimal impact on the environment.  The Forestry Commission Scotland supplied the majority of the timber for the building. The timber used was douglas fir as this is the natural species of tree in Scotland, the frame was also built in our Scottish timber framing yard in Angus so it is a Scottish build through and through. The project is a key example of the effectiveness for public spaces of building with Scottish Douglas fir.

The building with Douglas Fir is 3500 square foot and 40 tonnes of douglas fir was used to build the frame. The frame was built using traditional methods which is what we are known for at Carpenter Oak & Woodland. The building was clad using Latch – a wood that is naturally resistant to the elements. Although the frame was douglas fir the flooring in the gallery and the entrance hall was oak which complements the frame well and the two timbers are often used together.

The roof of Waterston House is covered in 29 solar panels making it not only environmentally friendly but also shows their long term commitment to reducing their impact onto the environment.

The building with Douglas Fir has a simple form that sits well into its rural surroundings and has been landscaped in a way that encourages bird life.