New visitor facilities on Lindisfarne

ICOSIS Architects

Icosis were originally appointed by Natural England to look at two projects on Lindisfarne, just off the Northumberland coast. The first was to upgrade the facilities and accessibility to a 1950.s Coast Guard tower and, the second, to provide a new visitor building on a Field adjacent to the main route to the Lindisfarne Castle. The projects, which were taken over by the local community trust, are very different in character, but both aim to reflect the unique location, inspiring visitors to value and conserve the special environment that is Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. The Lookout Tower has been altered to enable visitors to the island to enjoy the spectacular views it provides. The project includes a new fully glazed room on the upper floor, a new steel staircase and works to improve the quality of access in and to the building, along with new interpretation and orientation information. A ventilator within the roof structure works in conjunction with 3 openable slot windows in the ground floor to provide natural stack effect ventilation within the building to mitigate against the glass upper level from overheating. The new "Window on wild Lindisfarne" building was designed to offer a new focus point for visitors to the island, providing information and interpretation, an area for watching birds, and a muster point and meeting space for school, RSPB, and similar community or environmental groups of up to around 50-70 people visiting the Island. Gaps with the external stonework have been incorporated to encourage birds to nest within the walls of the building itself. The site is a SSSI and Ramsar designated site and provides an excellent habitat for a great variety of birds. The new full-height 7m wide window to the rear is intended to focus views out over the field and bird activity. A specialist glass was specified for both buildings to mitigate against bird strike. This glass is manufactured with a web of lines coated onto the glass - evocative of a spiders web - which are barely discernible to humans but reflect the UV light, alerting birds to the presence of the surface.


Window / Lookout on Lindisfarne
United Kingdom


Euan Millar
Director / Architect


Natural England / The Holy Island of Lindisfarne Community Development Trust




Contract Value



  • Public
  • Sustainability