Working Detail: Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre by Gareth Hoskins Architects
[WORKING DETAIL 29.05.08] A wall of local stone with a glass clerestory and larch rainscreen
The centre, on the site of the 1746 Battle of Culloden, not only houses the usual visitor facilities and exhibition, but is a physical memorial to the fallen. The long north wall of the building - slabs of local Caithness stone set in random courses of smooth and broken faces - is a memorial to those who died. The wall runs uninterrupted for 60m. A frameless glass clerestory is set above it, together with a deep larch-clad fascia which rises to become the balustrade to a rooftop walkway.
The centre, single-storey and steel-framed, is designed on sustainable principles, with a highly insulated envelope, greenroof system and underfloor heating powered by a woodchip boiler. The memorial wall is over 1m thick, backed with 200mmthick insulated timber studwork - a cavity wide enough to accommodate steel columns and downpipes and an inner leaf of blockwork faced with Caithness stone tiles. The fascia/ balustrade is clad with a rainscreen of 147 x 19mm larch boards, laid horizontally with 15mm gaps. Both stone and larch were sourced locally.
A rooftop walkway gives visitors the chance to view the battlefield panorama. It is reached by means of an earth ramp and a high-level timber bridge that runs into the memorial wall, its position marking the line where British government troops stood. The steel-framed bridge is clad with the larch rainscreen, which continues internally to divide visitor and exhibition spaces.