Saltholme Bird Hide

Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesbrough

Completed: 2019

Client: The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds


The Team:

Christopher Gilligan

Dani Reed


Situated close to the mouth of the River Tees with designated status for its assemblage of wintering wildfowl and waders, the Saltholme Bird Hide has been refreshed and extended by CGL.

Saltholme has been open to the public for seven years and RSPB were looking at refurbishing and extending the visitor experience on offer via its Saltholme Washlands Project (SWaP).

The final proposal was for a ‘Tower’ design with a two-storey enclosure created by the insertion of a pure cylindrical form into the central void of the existing hide. The form allows for 360 degree views across the surrounding nature reserve whilst also creating an extension to the existing that gives full shelter from the elements all year round.

Externally the tower is clad in dark vertical timber battens to articulate and emphasise the curve and verticality of the building form. Internally the building is envisioned as an expressed natural timber structure to evoke warmth in the aesthetic and provide a strong contrast between the stained black outer cladding.

The lower-level inner core can be used for information displays and provide access to the central spiral staircase leading to the upper viewing deck. It may also be possible to provide new sheltered access to the existing hide from within the tower.

Above the central spiral stair the roof comprises a sky light, allowing light into the heart of the building.


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