Last week Gorebridge Community Development Trust held a party to celebrate the opening of the Gorebridge Beacon, our new community centre, earlier this year. Trust members and staff, funders and nearly all the design team came and celebrated the fantastic (award-winning) building. Since it opened over 5,000 people have walked through the doors, all the office spaces have tenants and it is now the go-to place for conferences in Midlothian.
The staff, mostly volunteers, say it as a privilege to work there and appreciate the design. They say no two days alike, given the number of different groups and activities operating out of the building – from yoga to sewing, from baby language classes to singing.
As I said in my speech, it is an inspirational building, an innovative piece of engineering and a very energy-efficient building. One stand-out feature is that both its structure and cladding are made of timber.
Over the course of a decade, Alan Thomson of Lee Boyd Architects led the design team over many hurdles to give us the Beacon. The team includes structural engineers David Narro Associates, mechanical and electrical engineers Irons Foulner Partnership and landscape architects Rankin Fraser.