Flashback: Kielder Belvedere / Softroom

© Keith Paisley

Architects: Softroom
Location: Northumberland,
Project Year: 1999
Photographs: Keith Paisley

Client: The Kielder Partnership

Outside, one is exposed to the elements, unsheltered, but attuned to the landscape.  To enter the Kielder Belvedere and seek shelter is to be protected from the weather and be given precisely controlled, but seemingly unhindered visual experience of the world beyond.

© Keith Paisley

Warm and dry, seated in a gently-lit drum, one is shielded from discomfort, free to contemplate the environment beyond. On approach from the park, two etched-steel mirror walls reflect the forest and flank a doorway set beneath a richly-coloured glass canopy. The triangular shelter is entered via its apex, through an apparently very thick wall.  The curve of the door suggests what lies beyond; a golden circular chamber, lit by soft daylight filtering through a coloured skylight.

© Keith Paisley

In the centre of the enclosure, a bench faces a single slot window in the far wall that offers a panoramic view of Kielder water. Owing to the curvature of the glazing and the sharply splayed window reveals, it is hard here to determine the thickness of the wall; the view in this way becoming an integral part of the surface of the drum. The 120 – degree band of vision contains the far horizon, the expanse of the reservoir and shoreline. The constantly changing weather sweeps by and there is the anticipation, observation and ultimate arrival of the ferry as it enters the frame.

Plan

By contrast to the flat flank walls, the third face of the exterior has a dramatic convex mirror-polished stainless steel surface. The vista is drawn in as if by gravity towards the curved window and the viewer.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Flashback: Kielder Belvedere / Softroom" 22 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=256147>

1 comment

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Northumberland USA??!

    This little gem is in Kielder Water and forest Park, Northumberland, England. Several unique follies around the reservoir in a stunning setting.

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