CMYA Finalist

Employer: Morgan Sindall

Project: Ballater Station, Aberdeenshire

Having stepped on the first rung of the construction industry’s career ladder as an apprentice joiner 30 years before, Patrick Johnson had the strong carpentry background required for this scheme to restore a listed station built for Queen Victoria to wait for the train in when she was returning from Balmoral. Heavily fire-damaged in 2015, the extensive rebuild required the reconstruction of the slate roof and its timber-framed support, with their multiple and fiendishly challenging geometries, from photographs. It also involved replacing the ornate wooden wall panels in the royal waiting room that had been damaged or destroyed.

Showing a relationship flair that would be crucial on a high-profile project that is a key tourist attraction in a small community and attracted several royal visits during the project, Patrick built a friendship with a local resident who had many unique photographs of the building before it burned down. To help restore the roof as far as possible to an exact replica of its original construction, Patrick used the photographs for accuracy in cutting 800 lengths of timber to a series of exact angles to ensure the frame fitted together.

In the grand, wood-panelled waiting room, 3D laser scanning and modelling was undertaken to capture the exact size and proportions of the timber mouldings and fretwork to ensure the new wood mimicked the original and to reduce waste. Nor did Patrick leave it at that. As an additional quality control measure, he reconstructed the waiting room off site (much of the materials had to be removed to be cleaned) to check that everything fit together properly before deconstructing it and transporting the materials back to site for permanent installation. The client is delighted with the final result of this complex restoration project.