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An architectural link to a unique outdoor experience

Gateway to Nature Centre

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National Trust for Scotland


Braemore Junction, Scottish Highlands



The design successfully creates the beginning of a unique outdoor experience which blends in with the natural habitat, thoughtfully inviting people into the environment and enhancing their experience.

The background

Featuring a remarkable historical suspension bridge, Corrieshalloch Gorge is a designated National Nature Reserve situated on a remote, sloped wilderness site twenty minutes from Ullapool and one hour from Inverness, possessing a distinct ecology, geology and history. 

Our team were appointed to help the National Trust for Scotland realise their ambitions for a sensitively designed visitor centre to enhance the experience of visitors to the Gorge rather than disrupt or compete with the unique natural environment. 

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The Design Approach

The Gateway to Nature Centre provides a place for arrival, orientation and interpretation before a visit to the spectacular gorge which runs through the NTS nature reserve.  It includes essential facilities for visitors, including toilets, a coffee kiosk, an office, a ranger base and a welfare area for staff and provides wayfinding at the beginning of the journey through the nature reserve. It is anticipated to serve approximately 140,000 annual visitors.

The building features a distinguishable ‘flicked’ canopy roof protecting visitors from the Scottish weather and collecting rainwater to be filtered and reused. 

A ranger base also includes a covered outside space with perimeter seating that serves as an outdoor classroom sheltered from the elements.

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The pavilions are positioned to provide visitors with an auditory and visual experience of the nearby river from arrival. The design has been future-proofed to enable easy repetition for further mini pavilions, with one already in design.

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Tommy Gallagher of the NTS remarked, “The Gateway to Nature Centre has had rave reviews from locals and international tourists. The centre has increased its staff strength, providing more jobs within the NTS”,

The brand-new facilities are wonderful; the trails are firm and wide and the area is safe,” said visitors to the site. To the entertainment of the practice, the centre has been described in social media as having ‘Scotland’s best toilets’.

The facility aids the safe and sustainable management of visitors, ensuring that Corrieshalloch’s built and natural heritage is well-cared for, now and in the future.

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Chak Hin Leung @chakhinleung
Mark Husskisson

Gordon Burniston

Ewan Wetherspoon

Staff now love being here and consider the pavilion a welcome improvement. It's a brilliant place to be, and part of the reason is the good facilities available.

Tommy Gallagher

Visitor Services Manager, NTS

Catriona Hill Partner Civic Community Arts lead North lead

If you want to know more about our work in this sector, contact Catriona our sector lead.

Email Catriona

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