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Project Description

The Scottish Oceans is an interdisciplinary research institute studying the marine environment with a key focus on research excellence in marine related science. The Institute was awarded funding to redevelop their aquaria facilities to support research activities by bringing together University of St Andrews researchers who share an interest in oceanic systems science in its broadest sense.

  • Client

    University of St Andrews

The Challenge

The Proposed 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. 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 the existing buildings and allowing for future expansion and flexibility.

In addition, the design proposal had to reflect the importance of the historical / prominent site location to ensure key views were maintained, and the facility fitted into the urban context with materials that would not weather or deteriorate in the exposed conditions of the site on the beach front.

The Solution

The overarching design concept and strategy for the building was to provide a roof form that resembles a wave from that all components of the diverse client brief are located under.

This then developed incorporating a sail

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.

Innovation and Added Value

The inclusion of a Collaboration Zone stitched together all the 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. Corten has a natural patina of rust that protects itself ironically from further corrosion It is a unique material that strongly connects to ideas of time, memory and nature, weathering nicely and becoming increasingly beautiful with continued exposure to the elements.

The Aquaria was encapsulated in a cast concrete walls formed to incorporate the texture of wooden boards creating a grainy texture and simplicity identifying the contract to the glazed offices connecting the building users to the Sea.