The Playful Garden

Set within the walled garden at Brodie Castle in Morayshire, the new visitor pavilion acts as the public entrance to the ‘Playful Garden’, a new landscaped space for exploration and adventure.

About this project

Venture to the historic Brodie Estate in Forres, pass the imposing Brodie Castle and a new addition appears on the horizon. Timber-clad, unassuming but with a striking pin-sharp roof form, the new building draws visitors in to reveal a wonderous new garden beyond.

The project design team delivered the overall scheme for the National Trust for Scotland whose ambition was for Brodie Castle and Estate to become the premier family-focused heritage attraction in the north of Scotland. The garden design is based on the themes of family and play. It includes slides, tunnels, and an array of engaging, fantastical sculptural elements. The new visitor pavilion acts as the public entrance to the ‘Playful Garden’ and also provides retail, catering, and indoor play spaces. The pavilion design seeks to evoke the form and materiality of an ancillary agricultural building, in order not to disrupt the hierarchy of built form across the castle estate; while simultaneously feeling like a public building. The design is intended for year-round use, and to support special events and exhibitions. 

Use of Timber

Siberian Larch cladding was chosen for the purpose-built visitor centre to give a calm, rustic aesthetic appropriate for the subtle insertion of the building into the historic estate. Meticulous detailing of the timber cladding and metal roofing, however, set the building apart from the vernacular barn. The warm timber cladding on the entrance elevation is tightly detailed to accentuate the roof form, and the timber corner addressing the approach is eroded to create an obvious entrance, inviting visitors to explore within. The Siberian Larch was also an excellent fit for the architects’ requirements for a low-impact material.

Further information

Russwood - case study details

ImagesDapple Photography

Key contacts


National Trust for Scotland


Hoskins Architectserz landscape architects

Main Contractor

McGregor Construction

Timber Supplier

Russwood (Cladding)

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