Acle Bride, Norfolk
Competition entry to design an education centre in the heart of the Norfolk Broads. Our proposal makes an approachable and familiar landmark building that engages, educated and enchants. In celebrating the Broads as a wetland area of international importance, the visitors centre is intended to be enjoyable and memorable.
Reedbeds are amongst the most important habitats for birds in the UK. The Broads contains about 1540 hectares of the 5000 hectares of reedbeds in the UK. Celebrating and enhancing this is an important preoccupation within our proposal. The centre will offer direct learning experience by highlighting the relationship between water, nature and power to harvesting of reeds for thatching. In embracing the local traditions of thatching and the use of wind to pump water, the legacies of the surrounding area are preserved and celebrated.
As beautifully captured by the Norwich school the landscape and buildings go hand-in-hand; the proposal is sited within the landscape as an interactive tower. Offering sweeping views to the north, south and west, it becomes a lookout and beacon within the vast Norwich landscape. The language of the building is deliberately playful in its references to local architecture, both in its form and materials. Without replicating existing windmill structures, the centre provides a welcoming and familiar experience that is unashamedly modern whilst still echoing historical architectural traces.