Great Fen Visitor Centre

collaboration with APD Architecture and FHA

Cambridgeshire, UK

The visitor centre is a carbon neutral project that lies at the heart of the continued development of the Cambridgeshire fens. Our proposal, an inverted barn set into the landscape, looks to create a sense of warm enclosure within the expanse of the great, flat fens. 

Viewed on approach, the building is low-slung, marked by a slim tower enclosing the entrance, a camera obscura and nesting places for bats, birds and bees. The two main elements of the building, joined by this tower, are the softly curved public shed holding the exhibition spaces, shop and cafe (with warming open fire) and a more grounded utilitarian building accommodating service spaces, public conveniences and administration spaces.

As you enter the building you move down into the landscape, through the tower and out into a simple timber lined space giving panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. On the upper levels we created a landscape garden with education spaces and an outdoor auditorium with views to the spectacular landscape that envelopes the building. 

Area: 750m²  ・  Budget: £2.4M  ・  Completion: Competition
Client: The Great Fen Partnership