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Window on Lindisfarne

Icosis Architects’ visitor centre and look-out tower offer new views across the Northumberland island

Edinburgh-based Icosis Architects has designed two buildings on the island of Lindisfarne (or Holy Island), just off the coast of Northumberland, as part of a programme to improve visitors’ experience of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.

As well as the £180,000 conversion of a 1950s coastguard tower into a look-out tower, the practice has built a £300,000 visitor centre on the road between Lindisfarne village and the Lutyens-renovated 16th-century castle.


The visitor centre, built to highlight the island’s abundant bird life, has a large north-facing window providing views across the Site of Special Scientific Interest, while interpretation boards provide information about wildlife on the island. The bird-friendly structure has pockets built into the back-bedded stonework to encourage nesting, and the glazing is mesh-coated to reflect UV radiation and help prevent bird strike.

Icosis is now working on a third building on Lindisfarne, the conversion of an old lifeboat house into a small museum that will start on site later this year.

Euan Millar, director, Icosis Architects

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