ARBORCLAD TOWERING ABOVE THE REST

When specialist timber was required to complete the RIBA Award-winning Rossall Point Observation Tower in Fleetwood, cladding from merchant Howarth Timber and Building Supplies was specified.

The tower, on the Lancashire coast, is owned by Wyre Borough Council and gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the coastal environment and enjoy the view over Morcambe Bay and the Irish Sea. It consists of an education facility, a bird watching facility and a base for the National Coastwatch Institution.

ArborClad Thermo-D Frake, a premium cladding from Howarth, was specified for the £570,000 building, which is open to the public. The ArborClad Thermo-D Frake was the ideal choice for Rossall Point, mainly due to the building’s coastal location.

Thanks to the way the cladding has been treated, strong, stable elevations are achieved for the building, while the timber is able to withstand demands from the environment due to its durability.

While Howarth’s cladding was installed on the external elevations of the building, it was also installed in the common area and staircase internally. The inside of the tower’s lookout facility and the outside decking area at the peak of the striking building also incorporated Howarth’s cladding.

The four-storey, 42 feet-tall structure was built as part of the Sea Change project and replaces an old observation tower which was no longer fit for purpose.

To ensure the design was respectful of ecological diversity and to minimise any disruption to the surrounding area, materials were chosen which complemented those already in place. The qualities of existing features such as timber groynes had an influence on the materials chosen by Studio Three architects, who designed the new tower. The construction process was overseen by main contractor, Parkinson Building Contractors.

The building, which rises above the sand dunes and has striking aesthetics, was designed to look as if it is leaning into the wind. The stunning tower was recognised for its striking design when it won the RIBA North West Award.

Alex Martinez, architect at Studio Three, said: “We are very pleased with how the Frake timber has performed on the building – offering a reassuring durability against the elements in this exposed location whilst providing a strong and stable appearance which has gracefully adapted to its environment over time.”

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