Whin Sill Grassland Roof
The most ambitious part of the building is the Whin Sill Grassland Roof, it has never been tried before.
Built to mimic the shapes and geology of The Great Whin Sill, the grass roof is planted in a substrate inspired by the surrounding landscape. Whin makes thin, poor soil, so plants have to be able to cope with tough conditions; this means that the area gives a home to a unique community of plants and our grass roof reflects this.
We tested different soil mixtures and planting techniques for the roof in a number of trial plots. All the seed we’ve used has come from Northumberland and Cumbria, so we know the plants growing on the roof are local.
The roof has been carefully designed so it is wheelchair accessible, giving all visitors the opportunity to enjoy the Whin Sill roof and take advantage of the elevated views across the landscape.
The roof was designed to help the building fit into the landscape as a key aspect of the architectural design but it also serves as a viewing point accessible to all, insulation and a place where locally native plants can grow. The building is constructed to reflect the local geology so we wanted the roof to reflect the surroundings too. The shape mirrors the shape of the Whin Sill.