The Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick
The Scottish Seabird Centre, funded by the Millennium Commission, was first conceived as the hub of a communications network linked to discreetly located cameras among the bird colonies on the islands in the Forth, in particular the puffins on Fidra and the gannets on the Bass, one of the largest and most important colonies in the world. Visitors are able to watch the seabirds on large screens, year round and in real time, as if on a camera obscura. At the same time, the birds themselves are protected from disturbance by visitors to the islands.
The new building is set upon a rocky promontory beside the old harbour. Exposed to the sea and the weather, it is robustly built with a dry stone weather screen, rough sawn larch boarding and a copper roof supported on solid, larch trusses. Its unusual shape reflects the panoramic views of all the islands and the need for a welcoming entrance to draw people into this landmark building. Since its opening the building has proved to be extremely popular with both tourists and the local community.