The expansion and enhancement of the Rosslyn Chapel’s Visitor Centre were undertaken to address the increasing pressure on existing facilities, provide a more welcoming environment, and better accommodate the growing number of visitors. This project includes a new entrance porch, exhibit and education spaces, a café, all housed within a sustainable and sensitive architectural design.
The existing Category A listed building, which previously served as the reception, ticketing, café, shop, and Trust offices, was converted to accommodate modest visitor numbers and an exhibition. However, with the exhibition on an upper level without lift access and other facilities facing pressure, extending the building northwards was deemed appropriate.
The design of the extension followed several key principles to ensure its appropriateness in the sensitive location of the Chapel precincts. The goal was to provide a welcoming and transparent addition that harmonized with the site’s historical significance while meeting modern visitor needs.
The new visitor centre, perched on the edge of Roslin Glen, integrates a green oak frame to enhance flexibility within the internal layout. This space caters to large visitor groups and offers exhibition, education, retail, and café facilities within one open area. The unique architectural design, with portal frames and a central pitched roof, creates a spacious and inviting atmosphere despite the relatively small building footprint.
The open gable-end entrance invites visitors from afar, while the stepped roof design frames picturesque views of the Esk Valley, reinforcing the building’s connection to its rural surroundings. The building’s adaptability extends to hosting various events, such as drinks receptions, book launches, and music recitals, during evening hours.
The existing Category B listed stable building was efficiently reworked to accommodate essential facilities, including restrooms, storage, staff accommodations, and a plant room. This approach was in line with the project’s commitment to preserving the site’s heritage and addressing planning challenges.
The expansion and renovation of Rosslyn Chapel’s Visitor Centre effectively balance the needs of modern visitors with the preservation of this historic site. By seamlessly blending new architectural elements with existing structures, the project ensures that the Chapel continues to welcome visitors while safeguarding its rich heritage.
Rosslyn Chapel Trust
Chapel Loan, Roslin, EH25 9PU
£2.2m (+ Interpretation £0.25m)
Elliot & Company
Harley Haddow LLP
Ian White Associates
Gardiner & Theobald