With the previous visitor centre being damaged by a tidal surge, the client was taking no chances with its replacement and requested the new building be raised to mitigate any potential future flood risk. The site also posed the challenges of being in an exposed coastal environment and ecologically sensitive area. In addition, the project included the refurbishment of the adjacent historic coastguard building, constructed in the mid-1800s to be used as an accessible exhibition space.
Proposals were developed in close collaboration with the client, end user and visitor centre staff as well as the Environment Agency. It was agreed the building needed to be low maintenance, retain its visual appeal and continue to provide a high-quality offering to the community. A range of sustainable features were also required.
To mitigate any possibility of flood, the new visitor centre has been raised on 1.5m stilts supported by helical piles to minimise disruption to local wildlife. The building was clad in Thermowood, selected for its impressive durability and low maintenance requirements and the decking on the upper and lower viewing decks is made of GRP, a non-slip product resistant to rotting.
The centre is naturally lit and windows can be opened to provide ventilation. A high glazed screen around the balcony acts as a wind break throughout the year and sustainable features include solar gain heating and air source heat pump system.
The refurbishment of the coastguard cottage created two new exhibition/teaching spaces, together with four new externally accessible 24-hour WCs, one of which is DDA compliant. The existing windows were repainted and the eaves reinstated in their original positions.
The spectacular new visitors centre has made an immediate impact on the local community and visitors to the reserve.
The design provides a flexible open-plan reception, exhibition space, retail area and café. Externally, two decks allow visitors to enjoy unprecedented 360-degree views over the surrounding landscape. The centre makes the most of the nature reserve’s stunning views. The expansive windows face the dunes and sea and the rooftop viewing deck provides an elevated observation platform to view wildlife in the almost completely flat nature reserve.
" The building was shortlisted in the East Midlands 2017 RICS Awards for “Community Benefit”, “Design through Innovation” and “Tourism & Leisure” "
Updating an icon, providing pride of place for Charles Darwin’s finds, creating a prominent spot for a fully-fledged Finback whale, and being test abseiled by Sir David Attenborough.
The Aperture is the first phase of residential buildings on the Greenwich Peninsula. This five storey building comprises of a restaurant and deli on the ground floor, day nursery on the first floor, estate management and a community centre on the second/third floors with a gym on the remaining floors.
Developing Chester's largest and most ambitious ever creative project, working in a restricted city centre location, adapting the programme when a Roman building was discovered on site, restoring and revitalising a Grade II Listed building, creating new cultural spaces and receiving the Arts Council's highest ever score for a building.
Developing the first site outside Devon and Cornwall for Trago Mills, an independent, family owned and run discount leisure retailer. Bringing much needed employment to the area it includes 11 retail units, external sales area, café, garden centre, goods yard, ice cream stall, bandstand, adventure dome and model railway.
Transforming a tired council facility into a modern new leisure centre in the north of Sheffield, adhering to Sport England guidelines and taking on board local concerns, introducing a bold exterior design and keeping to tight deadlines.
Completing the penultimate phase of the £65m waterfront development, taking it through the planning process, regenerating over 17 acres in Walsall including The Light Cinema and popular national restaurant chains, making the most of a canalised location and engaging with the local community.
Delivering the £450m Watford Riverwell as a 15-20 year joint venture with Watford Borough Council, which involved regenerating 70 acres of land in West Watford to create residential, office, retail, leisure, industrial and hotel space.
Identifying this 20.5 acre site in Reading as a strategic development opportunity, delivering a retail and leisure scheme including new homes, a hotel, retail space, car showrooms and industrial units, trailing new innovations and generating 263 jobs and £138m of social value.
Creating a new retail and leisure heart for the town comprising 23 shops, restaurants and bars, together with a multi-screen Empire cinema, 60 bed Premier Inn hotel and a 345 space car park.
Converting a 1920s office building in Cardiff into a 122 bedroom Hotel Indigo, the boutique hotel brand of InterContinental Hotels Group, for Maven Capital Partners with Sanguine Hospitality. Crafting spaces throughout the hotel to reflect the history and vibrancy of the city and a rooftop Marco Pierre White restaurant.
Constructing a new retail unit that included remodelling existing car parks, a major re-alignment of the existing spine road - including removal of roundabouts - significant public utility services diversions and installation of toucan crossings.
Creating a new visitor centre at this Site of Special Scientific Interest after the previous one was damaged by a tidal surge, ensuring its protection from flooding and its coastal position, incorporating sustainable features and refurbishing an 1800s coastguard building to be used as an exhibition space.
Designing and constructing a new leisure complex within this holiday village on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park in Devon, including toddler and 20m adult swimming pools, Tornado and Twister flume rides, and water playground, gymnasium, other leisure facilities and associated plant and equipment.
Creating a viable and affordable facility that brought all Crewe's lifestyle services - pool, gym, sports hall, library, specialist daycare and family service facilities - together under one roof, meeting a diverse range of user needs and building within a constrained town centre site.
Restoring, renovating and extending this prestigious Grade A listed performing arts building, utilising building conservation techniques whilst internally upgrading the interiors and finishes to a high quality and installing new, modern building services and a/v equipment throughout.
Creating a new £19m aviation museum showcasing the role played by the Bristol site in Britain’s aviation history, including a hangar to house the last Concorde ever to fly, restoring a Grade 1 listed First World War hangar to create an exhibition space
Restoring an iconic building, taking part in feasibility studies to decide the best use of the building, working on the project to turn it into a seven-screen cinema with restaurants, coffee shop and retail units, winning multiple industry awards and creating something of huge importance to local people.