Client: RIBA / Great Fen Project Partners
Location: Holme Fen, Cambridgeshire
OOBE, in collaboration with architects Mawson and Kerr, were long-listed at stage 1 of this competition which attracted over 200 submissions from Europe and the UK. We designed a Visitor Centre shaped by the needs of the people, the local heritage and its diverse setting. Our concept was to create an experience which would stimulate all the senses. Traces of the human interventions were retained; existing field patterns and drainage channels formed the grain of the landscape; the buildings draw inspiration from the historic pump houses and their towering chimneys with a living tower as the centre piece. However, these historic forms no longer represent the demise of the natural habitat as our proposals celebrated the ecological heritage of the Great Fen and its re-emergence as an extraordinary landscape. The Visitor Centre, nestled within the key Fen habitats, would be experienced through a network of waterways, paths and boardwalks designed to engage and invite all to follow their senses!