The Great Fen project is gradually reconverting arable farmland back to a fen landscape in an area just south of Peterborough. The project is to include the construction of a new visitor centre at the heart of the fen allowing visitors to learn about and experience this unique habitat. An open RIBA competition resulted in over 200 entries.
Our proposal was for a simple timber box sitting within this flat landscape, a prominent and easily read object that is viewed in a similar way from any direction and distance.
Located between fen, wet meadow and open water with distant views of woodland the centre would be ideally located to provide the visitor with an experience of these interdependent habitats.
Internally a grand staircase would take the visitor from the ground up through a sequence of framed views, each revealing different aspects of the landscape and habitat. Taken together these provide a complete picture of the Great Fen.
Constructed in cross laminated timber, the latest in timber frame technology, and clad in oak shingle a traditional hand crafted material. These sustainable construction methods combine with the high performance fabric and onsite renewable strategies to ensure that the building would be very low carbon, both in construction and operation.