The proposed Great Fen Visitor Center by Arrigoni Architetti consists of three barns arranged on the edge between land and water in a clear orthogonal layout. Gathered around an open space, the buildings will represent the welcoming meeting point for single visitors and groups as well as the ideal setting for outdoor activities and events. The goal is to find a balance between architecture and landscape, loosening the boundaries between inside and outside, allowing different views and encouraging the curiosity for an individual, non preset experience. More images and architects’ description after the break.
All functional elements of the centre are directly accessible from the courtyard and connected to a variety of additional components such as the path leading to the viewing tower, the water taxi pier and the secluded garden of the meeting room. The parking area is arranged on the southern boundary of the site, with a double parallel connection to the Centre: the visitors’ access path, with the wild-play area located half way, and the staff access road leading to the carport and the offices-barn. The barns differ in length but share the same structural design: the idea is to magnify the intensity of the expression through brevity and simplicity.
Morphology and construction technique are supposed to establish a recognition link with the salient local architectural character, thus possibly providing involvement of local enterprises, too. Porches and few strategically placed generous openings connect the buildings to the surroundings; long wooden walls define terraces and paths and guide the view towards the horizon.
The new buildings favour the use of natural materials - such as wood, clay, water-reed-thatch - for their susceptibility to physical change over time as well as for their humble and rustic appearance. The Visitor Centre uses on-site renewable sources.
Architects: Arrigoni Architetti - Marco Arrigoni, Fabrizio Arrigoni, Damiano Dinelli
Location: Cambridgeshire, England
Design Team: Arianna Chines, Pierluigi Da Prato, Valentina Satti, Pietro Torricini
Landscape Design: Marinella Spagnoli
Structural Engineering: Massimo Bottega, Studio Techné