Lindisfarne, Northumberland

Client: Natural England
Architect: Icosis Architects, Edinburgh
Location: Lindisfarne, Northumberland
Year: 2013
Awards: EAA Ambassador Award 2014,
RIBA North East Award 2014

Who & Where

Natural England are a government advisory group who specialise in the welfare of English natural environment, they work with many different bodies from land managers and farmers to community groups to help them improve their local environment. In 2009 Natural England required a project to be undertaken on the Island of Lindisfarne, just off the Northumbrian Coast. They were to design and build a visitor’s centre on the Rocket Field on the main thoroughfare to the Castle. It was necessary for the building to tie in with the surrounding landscape, working harmoniously with natural building materials and modern architecture to create and attractive and inviting space for education and observation. A prestigious Edinburgh based architectural firm, Icosis Architects, were engaged to carry out the projects because of their focus on, and reputation for ecological and energy efficient designs. The Icosis philosophy is to specify their design with regards to the location and characteristics of the surrounding area, using a thoughtful context-driven approach when it comes to the choice of materials which “allows new buildings to be distinct and yet sit sensitively within their particular environment”


The building had to compliment the landscape and be sympathetic to the natural surroundings. Natural England had specified that the building had to reflect the unique location and environment of Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. Icosis had to find materials that would complement their architectural style and fulfil the specifications required by Natural England.


In order to reflect the island’s rich natural heritage, Icosis decided to use stone and turf as their main building materials. Denfind Stone provided the perfect solution for the material required. The traditional stone was sympathetic to the environment and yet complimented the modern design of the building. As the stone is sourced from a quarry just meters from the stone processing plant, the carbon footprint for sourcing the stone is kept to a minimal level; making it environmentally friendly, and sustainable. This tied in with Icosis’ environmental ethos and Natural England’s specification.

Why Denfind

The stone is sourced from the quarry on site and processed just meters away in our production shed, making it environmentally friendly and a sustainable natural product. The stone is expertly quarried and cut by our craftsmen thus ensuring a quality building product. The attractive colour of the Pitairlie sand stone makes an aesthetically pleasing contribution to any structure, and it compliments other natural materials such as wood.

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