Gaia Architects

showcasing scottish timber

Glentress Visitor Centre & Masterplan

Client: Forestry Commission Scotland

Gaia Architects were lead consultant for a major masterplanning study for The Glentress Forest, and were then commissioned to design a new Visitor Centre and HQ at Glentress Forest.

Glentress forest lies at the heart of the Tweed Valley Forest Park, and is a centre of excellence for mountain biking. The increasing popularity of mountain biking has seen a significant rise in visitor numbers to the forest.


Working in close conjunction with the Forest Commission Scotland and other key partners, the design team analysed the existing market conditions, site infrastructure and development opportunities within the forest. The resulting report put forward visionary ideas for a mixed social/recreational/leisure/commercial development within the forest, as well as proposals aimed at increasing opportunities for access by the general public, whilst diversifying the forest from a commercial forest to a sustainable natural woodland. Strategic guidance was also given regarding the potential use of sustainably sourced timber and resources from within the local area, together with guidance on a phased development programme for the generated ideas.


The proposed development of the area aims to build on the existing success, as well as increasing opportunities for other users.


The choice of all materials used in the scheme has been driven by a desire to minimise their environmental impact and on the health of the end users. This will be achieved without compromising the buildings performance or lifespan. Specific materials include clay plaster to regulate indoor air quality and moisture levels and linoleum to maintain a hygienic environment while preventing dangerous off-gassing within the internal spaces, commonly associated with comparable plastic or rubber products.


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