2012 Lighthouse

In June 2012 Tog completed its first live build project on the remote Scottish Island of Tiree. The project was based at Hynish, a settlement used by the Engineer Alan Stevenson during the construction of the Skerryvore Lighthouse, 11 miles South West of Tiree. Given the history of Hynish and its relationship to Stevenson’s Skerryvore, the Tog team was inspired to design a lighthouse of their own which would act as a beacon for their ambitions.

The structure of the lighthouse was to be temporary and designed around standard 4800mm lengths of timber. This led to a pair of frames, 4800mm high and 2400mm wide, made of C16 Scottish Sitka Spruce, supplied by BSW Timber Group. The frames were laid out on a 2400mm square plan and tied together with 195 x 45mm cross-beams using 114mm Timberloks.
The need for excessive foundations was minimised due to the temporary nature of the build; each post sat on blinded bedrock while trays filled with local beach sand and perimeter Spirafix Ground Anchors kept the structure in place.
Cladding was provided by 4800mm long vertical timber fins, with concealed fixings from the inside, at approximately 200mm centres to give the building a changing sense of solidity as the tower was circumnavigated.
The challenge of working safely at height was overcome with the use of internal platforms which spanned between the frames and cross- beams. These platforms were built sequentially from bottom to top, negating the need for scaffolding and limiting the amount of work done on ladders.
The platforms, which included a deck made of 18mm ply, tied the structure together. Intermediate steps were added between platforms to break up the change in level and create a helical ascent to the top; imagined as a spiral staircase rising to the top of the lighthouse.
The build was completed over six days by a team of students, architects and engineers from across the country. Those involved agreed that the project had been a great success in providing valuable hands on learning experience for anyone with a passion to build.

A film of the build in action can be seen here.


This project has enjoyed winning awards and has featured in several publications and exhibitions. A full list can be seen here.

Photos by Neil Boyd and Jo Murphy

Date: January 13, 2013