Abbotsford Visitor Reception Building

Client: The Abbotsford Trust

LDN were responsible for the conservation of the Category A Listed world famous home of Sir Walter Scott, including a comprehensive programme of fabric repairs; collections conservation; alterations to form new support facilities including an education suite; development of the designed landscape and construction of a new car park and visitor centre housing interpretation spaces, a destination café and shop in one of the most important designed landscapes in Scotland.

The project is transformational and the proposals were based on the needs of a long-term sustainable business plan. The core objective was to rediscover and enliven the tired and out-dated visitor experience at Abbotsford by providing attractive orientation and reception facilities and engaging, enjoyable and educational interpretation installations that explain an extremely complex story.

Visitor arrival, carparking and routes to the property have all been re-organised and relocated to meet current needs and aspirations for the future.

The new visitor reception building functions as a gateway to the house and surrounding designed landscape and network of walking trails. The new building is conceived as a modern gatelodge and is designed in a contemporary manner using timber as a foil to the solid stonework of Abbotsford and simplicity of form and detailing in contrast to Abbotsford’s complexity and decoration. It is flexible enough to cater for large parties, school groups and individual visitors as well as people who simply wish to use the new café and shop. It can also accommodate evening functions and has been open throughout the year.

Interpretative installations within the new visitor reception building aim to introduce the story of Scott, the man, and Abbotsford, his home and inspiration, before visitors move on through the designed landscape to his house. This ensures the complexity and significance of the place can be fully conveyed. 

The project won the Scottish Design Awards Award for Sustainable Design; RIAS / Forestry Commission - Prize for Best Use of Timber; TRADA Best Use of Timber and Commercial Project of the Year; Scottish Borders Council Design Awards, Best Project in Commercial Category.

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