In the midst of the hard-to-reach wetlands of the River Helge, yet on the doorstep of Kristianstad in the south of Sweden, lies Naturum Vattenriket (Wetlands). Just a few hundred metres from the city centre, the distinctive outline of the visitor centre forms an unmistakable landmark.
Vattenriket is a cultural landscape and, being so close to an urban area, it underlines the connection between people and nature. Naturum is situated in a recently-designated biosphere wetlands reserve. The lakeland area is dedicated to wildfowl and, for this reason, the building has been designed to act as a screen between visitor reception and the lakeside.
Boardwalks lead visitors out into the wetlands. Where the boardwalks meet, they become transformed. The western walk develops into a building whose fluid contours reach for the sky. We see it as echoing the vegetation growing in the landscape – the grasses, bushes and reeds. The eastern walk is lower and horizontal with the ground, creating a protected, recessed area like a bird’s nest or hideaway.
The idea behind Naturum Vattenriket is for visitors to roam from city to wetland area, but also to explore the landscape from a variety of vertical perspectives. From the bottom floor of the visitor centre, four metres above ground to the upper floor of the building where the restaurant and roof garden are situated. The view of the lake reaches right into the heart of the building – you feel as though you could stretch out and touch it.Location: Sweden
Architects: White arkitekter and Sprunt
Project name: Naturum Vattenriket