Castaway Pods on Taransay Island

The Castaway Pods were home to 36 people who took part in the BBC Castaway 2000 Series

Client: BBC

Location: Taransay, Scotland

Completed: 2000

Architect:: Andrew McAvoy

Carpenter Oak were contracted to fabricate the contemporary oak framed houses and erect them on the remote Island of Taransay.

Built for the BBC Castaway programme broadcast throughout the year 2000, this social experiment can truly be dubbed the template for the reality TV format of the early 21stCentury – Big Brother aired in the UK for the first time in 2001.

Carpenter Oak were appointed to build 4 green oak ‘pods’, to house the 36 inhabitants on the remote island of Taransay, off Harris, in the Outer Hebrides.

Working in collaboration with Andy McAvoy of Blast Architecture, with whom we later built the Grand Designs ‘Long House’, the curved green oak roof was designed to hunker down against the Atlantic elements, and constructed to allow for dismantling and relocation at the end of filming.

With a strict completion date for the start of filming in mid-January 2000, the pods were erected in the depths of winter and through force 11 gales.

Programmed for erection just 6 months after our Scottish yard opened in the Summer of 1999, our Scottish team were busy finishing the historic Great Hall roof at Stirling Castle.

To meet deadlines, the frames were fabricated at our Wiltshire yard, then shipped to Stornoway, and onward to a carpark at Horgabost beach on the Harris mainland.

With no regular ferry access to the island, Carpenter Oak worked in conjunction with a local haulier to helicopter all materials to the island.

All the construction materials were organised into similar sized packs with strict weight limits, before being lifted by helicopter across the stunning Sound of Taransay, a 5-minute flight.

The helicopter was used throughout the build, to erect the frame and transport the site team.

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