The visitor centre mediates the relationship between land claimed by man and the natural processes of habitat creation. The scheme draws from the site, its context and the traces of its history in order to deliver a unique destination; a synthesis of a visitor centre and its associated landscape where one is integral to the other in generating a place for people and wildlife to evolve simultaneously. The architecture is conceived as a sheltered and more dense segment of the journey through the amazing landscape rather than a more traditional isolated structure. Forming part of the wider landscape narrative, the building resembles an animal in its natural habitat, its lurking presence emerges from the silver birch woodland to merge into the reed beds.
A series of volumes which accommodate the main functions of the centre are strategically positioned in shifting directions to allow for commanding 360° view of the surrounding landscape. An envelope loosely wraps around these volumes, providing a hybrid indoor/ outdoor space that is sheltered from the elements.
It acts as a transition between nature and the enclosed spaces, while at the same time enhancing the spatial qualities by offering a different scale and series of flexible spaces and terraces where chance-events will occur as the visitor centre comes to life – a viewing platform, kids educational playground, meditation spaces, etc. The envelope also establishes the views and visual connections to the landscape through a series of rotating vertical louvres.Location: Peterborough, UK
Architect: Divercity architects Project name: The Great Fen Visitor Centre Collaborators: Natalia Roussou