This unique Off Grid cabin is on an exposed site 5 miles west of St Andrews. It looks incredibly small in contrast to the impressively scaled warehouses on the side of the Eden Estuary, yet the hub accommodates four researchers who work at adjustable standing desks, a kitchenette, a meeting space, an external patio, a shower room, a store cupboard, an entrance foyer and a covered entrance porch.
Sustainability is at the core of this office. Mounted onto the roof are nine 320W solar panels that power the whole building. Conventional appliances connect to this power, via an inverter, that is stored in a bank of 8 batteries. A separate storage space houses the batteries as well as two Tuff Tanks - one for non potable water and the other for the collection of waste.
The Russwood FSC scotLarch clad side walls, roof, and timber deck are complemented by a rainscreen in 6mm Heritage Richlite panels in colour Slate, specified with a mill finish for the entrance and gable ends. The choice to use Richlite was not only for its aesthetic and sustainable value - it is certified by the Rainforest Alliance, and is manufactured using layers of 100% post consumer, recycled paper - but it is also a small tribute to the former paper mill which sat on the site for over a hundred years, until its closure in 2008.
The interior is also aligned with the core sustainable values behind this building. The walls of untreated Nordpan spruce panels are insulated with Thermafleece sheep wool insulation, as are the floor and vaulted roof. The underfloor heating is a combi gas boiler, which also provides hot water, although an 'Arctic' wood burner is added as a warm, cosy touch.
Soft greens, blues and greys, inspired by the estuary, fill the office and are reflected on sustainable finishes such as Forbo Nairn's linoleum for the floor, furniture linoleum on the desks and bulletin board on walls and doors.
Central to the kitchenette is a 19mm spruce ply worktop made with Richlite. In the meeting space, the conference table created and constructed by Echo, is designed to work with the whole look and feel of the interior layout.
The double glazed, full height windows on each wall look out onto the estuary, with a Velfac patio door that accesses the south facing timber deck made in Russwood ScotLarch DeckGrip. The office benefits from the maximum amount of daylight, generous views of the estuary and the spectacular varied birdlife sustained by the sand flats.
Off Grid Cabin - Eden Campus - St Andrews University
Richlite - 6 mm Heritage Slate Mill finish