Designed by Cowper Griffith Architects, the new structure sits in the landscape of Carlton Marshes nature reserve, home to diverse wildlife
Cowper Griffith Architects has completed a new visitor centre for The Suffolk Wildlife Trust in Carlton Marshes. Part of the Suffolk Broads, Carlton Marshes is a diverse landscape of grazing marsh, fens, peat pools, short fen meadow, tall fen, dykes, pools and scrub, all of which host specialised wildlife. The new centre is both a visitor gateway and an educational hub, helping to encourage people to learn about the Broads and local wildlife.
Community engagement, inclusive access, and low energy were important components of the design of the centre. The superstructure is built from sustainable timber sources using glulam and cross laminated timber (CLT) systems. The exposed timber beams and columns form a series of frames that zigzag through the spaces both inside and outside.
Cowper Griffith Architects placed the building alongside the watercourse, enabling panoramic views across the reserve, and connected it to a network of new, all-weather, accessible paths. The large wing-like sloping roof is designed to drain to a single low point where water, during heavy rain, pours from a spout into a pond before being drained to the watercourse.
The centre includes an education room, cafe, staff office and toilet facilities, as well as an outdoor sheltered education space and a cantilevered outdoor platform for views, eating and relaxing. Surrounding the centre is a large play area integrated into the landscape design by Robert Myers Associates.
Photography by Peter Cook
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