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Scottish Oceans Institute

World Class Research Facility

The Gatty Aquaria Facility required a building in which world-class, collaborative marine science research and teaching could take place and provide a new image for the Institute on a site of historical importance. This involved designing a bespoke aquarium with individual room temperature-controlled environments, along with cellular and open plan office requirements, public engagement space whilst integrating existing buildings and allowing for future expansion and flexibility.

The overarching design concept and strategy was to provide a roof form that resembles a wave from that all components of the diverse client brief are located under. This design reduced the visual impact of the existing Gatty Laboratory whilst providing a contemporary solution that is ambitious and of high-quality materials that are discreet and appropriate within their context.


2,400 sqm


St Andrews, UK


University of St Andrews

The inclusion of a Collaboration Zone stitched together all components of the brief and provided new opportunities to collaborate together in an informal and flexible area. The solar shading ‘waves’ surrounding the building were formed out of Corten steel which has a natural patina of rust. This unique material strongly connects to ideas of time and nature, weathering and becoming increasingly beautiful with continued exposure to the elements. The Aquaria was encapsulated in cast concrete walls formed to incorporate texture of wooden boards creating a grainy texture against the simplicity of glazed offices connecting the users to the sea.

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