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THE GREAT FEN VISITOR CENTRE the Oval partnership 2013


THE

great•fen VISITOR CENTRE


THE

great•fen VISITOR CENTRE

Our proposal is part of a continuing exploration of transient territory and the palimpsest of man’s history in the landscape. The landscape of our Great Fen visitor centre will over time become dotted with lightweight timber ‘fen huts’ – modest sheds with a multitude of uses, connected by a network of raised boardwalks. The footings of the existing barn are used as the base for a new visitor hub and workshop for the construction of the huts. These fen huts are based on a standard pattern but can be adapted to a variety of uses. Different materials – thatch, willow, clay, timber can be used and the construction of the huts would be part of a charitable sustainable construction training programme. The huts will be wheeled out into position along the boardwalks and can be brought back to ‘base’ for re-fitting and repair. This would all be part of the theatre of the visitor experience.


newly constructed fen•hut is moved out of the barn

new barn extension

terrace overlooking the lake to the north school group fieldtrip

wet grassland

existing barn made into the workshop

boardwalk ramps up to enter the barn workshop

picnic area terraces down to canal edge cmomon reed

boardwalk

fen•camp

wildlife photographer

white stork

kayaker

fen•water hut

open water


A FUTURE VISION FOR THE

great•fen

Envisioned here is the restoration of the greater part of the site area to a precultivation wetland state. A network of raised boardwalks and foot trails extends out into this gradually changing landscape in a series of loops of varying length to cater to visitors of all kinds. A network of huts is added over time, in greater concentration around the visitor centre and workshop where the huts are fabricated as part of an apprenticeship training programme. The aim is to use minimal means to create a ‘critical mass’ of visitor attractions over a concentrated area, sufficient to catalyse a regional and national profile. The landscape setting to the visitor centre and workshop is a rich tapestry of habitats giving the visitor a holistic experience of the Great Fen. A mosaic of wetland meadows, open water, reed beds, fen, willow scrub and wet woodlands will provide a variety of habitats for wildlife to establish and thrive. It is envisaged that low intensive farming will co-exist alongside the fens, a productive and diverse landscape to inspire visitors and the local community to participate, experience, and take ownership of the fens.

SITE PLAN 1:5000

• 1

entry road to site

• 2

car parking

• 3

bus parking

• 4

Fen•Barn workshop hub

• 5

Fen•Hut

• 6

boardwalk

• 7

existing fen info stop

• 8

water body

• 9

pool

• 10 wet grassland • 11

dry grassland

• 12

tree cluster

• 13 woodland • 14 agriculture • 15 bike path


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10

8

6

4 6

11

12

6

2

5

3

10

14

9

13

9

1 12

15

7


fen•land: CONSTRUCTING A DYNAMIC LANDSCAPE The huts stand as sentinels in the landscape – monuments to the complex nature of mans’ historical relationship with the land, markers on the horizon. Subtly positioned to exploit micro-horizons (meniscus, hedge, dyke), providing primarily bird and animal hides, they also house a micro-brewery, interpretive exhibits, bicycle repair, short-term accommodation, fish smokery, bee hives, herb drying, historical artefacts, pumphouse etc etc. These functions can be added and adapted over time as the centre evolves and its profile develops. The first few huts remain in the visitor centre as café, explanatory display, bookshop. Satellite huts could be positioned in regional town squares as promotional and ticketing venues. Further in the future the visitor centre can be expanded to cater for larger parties and events. This adaptive, dynamic approach is an open acknowledgment that the centre is part of an emerging, changing landscape. It is also an encouragement to repeat visits. CREATE A WORKSHOP,

DEVELOP A BASIC UNIT,

REPEAT THE UNIT ACROSS THE SITE.


1/

RECONSTRUCT THE EXISTING BARN TO A WORKSHOP & VISITOR HUB

2/

CONSTRUCT THE HUTS & BOARDWALK COMPONENTS IN THE BARN WORKSHOP

3/

BUILD A BOARDWALK OVER THE LANDSCAPE

REPEAT

4/

MOVE THE FEN•HUT OUT OF THE BARN INTO THE LANDSCAPE VIA THE BOARDWALK

5/

LOCK THE FEN•HUT INTO POSITION, CONNECT ANY SERVICES REQUIRED & FIT OUT THE INTERIOR

6/

BUILD A BARN EXTENSION

1 2a

3

5a

5b

5b


PHASE TWO/

PHASE ONE/

CONSTRUCT BOARDWALKS & FIRST FEN•HUTS

RECONSTRUCT THE BARN INTO THE WORKSHOP

1 1 B

3

C

A

2 D

COSTS BUILT•SCAPE reconstruct the barn into a workshop; work • rebuilt barn = £500,000 1•

area along the south side and the cafe/ shop/offices/ toilets along the north side

• • • LAND•SCAPE • A • build parking lot; to be half of required size in phase 1; 50 car spaces, 4 bus spaces • • B • barn area: low enclosing walls, paving, • canal, picnic area • COMMUNITY

launch fen•hut construction workshop for adults & youth

boardwalk @ 500 Lm = £250,000 15x hut = £135,000 supply to huts = £135,000 car park = £60,000 hard landscaping = £150,000 groundworks/clearing = £40,000 planting = £12,000 TOTAL = £1.3M

BUILT•SCAPE

• 2a 3a • 4a •

pull fen•hut into landscape over boardwalk

5a •

lock fen hut in place over boardwalk

LAND•SCAPE

• C • D

COMMUNITY

build the basic fen•hut components in • barn workshop • build boardwalk connecting over the landscape

build fen play area

continue construction workshop nature talks & seminars; fen history gatherings

COSTS

• • •

boardwalk @ 500 Lm = £250,000 15x hut = £135,000 supply to huts = £135,000

• •

play area = £15,000 planting = £25,000

fenland restoration demonstration area • •

footpaths @ 1200 Lm = £27,000 TOTAL = £0.58M


PHASE THREE+ /

EXTEND THE BOARDWALKS, ADD MORE FEN•HUTS, BUILD BARN EXTENSION

F 6

E G

2b

BUILT•SCAPE • add further fen hut variations & 5b

fen•camp, connect huts together with the boardwalk

• 6

extension of the barn to add further flexible classroom/exhibition space

COMMUNITY

grow the construction workshop programme

hold overnight fen•camp trips

COSTS

boardwalk @ 500 Lm = £250,000 15x hut = £135,000 supply to huts = £135,000

• F

• • & 3 bus spaces, makes total of 100 car • spaces, 7 bus spaces • form water body to the north •

• G

fully restored fen land

footpaths @ 1,500 Lm = £30,000

TOTAL = £0.75M

LAND•SCAPE • E enlarge parking lot; add 50 car spaces

barn extension = £130,000 enlarged car park = £70,000

lake/Pool

wet grassland

dry grassland

trees

agriculture

BASIC COSTS

• • • •

1x hut = £9,000 supply to 15 huts = £135,000 boardwalk = £500 per linear metre informal footpaths = £22.50 per linear metre

ALL PHASES TOTAL COST = £2.63M


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THE

great fen•barn WORKSHOP SITE

SITE PLAN 1:500

4

• 1

entry road to barn workshop

• 2

disabled car parking

• 3

delivery area

• 4

boardwalk

• 5

boardwalk rises to enter barn at mezzaine level

• 6

deck along canal

• 7

canal

• 8

water edge picnic area

• 9

paved area

• 10 fenland children playground • 11

raised landscape

• 12

grassland

• 13 barn - workshop 1

• 14 barn - hut assembly line • 15 storage • 16 offices • 17 kitchen • 18 toilets • 19 barn extension, glazed with vertical timber fins; flexible space for classroom, exhibitions, assembly, etc. • 20 fen•hut


ELEVATION A

ELEVATION B


ELEVATION C

ELEVATION D


• 1

assembly line, boardwalk begins

• 2

workshop: materials storage

• 3

workshop: cutting

• 4

workshop: build panels

• 5

workshop: paint/finish

• 6

workshop: assemble

• 7

storage

• 8

staff lounge & offices

• 9

kitchen

19 18 11

17

14

15

16

up

12

• 10 toilets • 11

barn extension, flexible exhibition/ classroom/etc. space

12 •

people boardwalk at mezannine

13

• 13 workshop below

MEZANNINE FLOOR PLAN/ 1:500

• 14 flexible classroom space • 15

info hut

• 16 cafe • 17 shop • 18

20

C

table space

• 19 balcony • 20 canal • 21 built in shelving

D

1

10

8

9

11

7

up

b

1 6

5

info 4

3

2

GROUND FLOOR PLAN/ 1:500

a

A

B


up

19

16

18

12 1

9

5

SECTION a/ 1:250

17 11

16

14

info 15

12

12 21

1

SECTION b/ 1:250


THE

fen•barn WORKING LANDSCAPE

The fen landscape is shown here in Phase 1, early in the process of restoring the agricultural land back to fenland.


A COMMUNITY ASSEMBLY LINE INSIDE THE

fen•barn WORKSHOP

The reconstructed barn becomes a hive of activity rather than a sterile exhibition space. Visitors arrive at mezzanine level overlooking the workshop area via the boardwalk ramp, allowing for full accessibility. From here views across the restored fen landscape and over the water to the north tantalize and a cafĂŠ and bookshop are provided, but the main event is the hammering and sawing and planing, whipping and whittling, predominantly with hand tools. When a newly completed hut is wheeled out into the daylight this is a symbolic, ritual event: a new birth to be celebrated.


fen•hut MODULAR CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM The Fen•Huts are designed and built using a standard but adaptable ‘kit of parts’ which can be constructed in the barn workshop and fabricated and assembled by volunteers interested in learning about sustainable building techniques. Some will require insulation (sheeps wool, recycled newspaper), others greenhouse glazing, others simple lapped timber cladding. Some will require stilts and ladder steps, others may have to float. The workshop is used for research and development as well as production and teaching. The modular system is designed so elements can be replaced with new or upgraded/materials to reflect new uses or simply natural maintenance cycles. The Fen Huts are reconfigurable and can be moved to new locations or back to the Barn as necessary for maintenance or upgrades.

ASSEMBLED FEN•HUT & WALKWAY 1:50


skylight

railing type A

vertical timber slats

glazing

timber plank floor cladding steel connections

material options: vertical timber slats, thatch, glazing panels, standing metal seam

railing type B

timber plank deck

horizontal timber slats

timber plank deck

railing type C

steel handle

horizontal cable wires

timber edges steel beams

timber plank deck electrical/ plumbing service lines runs beneath the decking and plug together

steel tension ties

steel connectors

steel conections

steel structure

steel beams

timber columns,

timber frame

with incremental measuring marks to show rise & fall of water & soil

twist pile foundation

twist pile foundation

timber structure timber plank floor

HUT BASE

wheels timber column

HUT ENCLOSURE

WALKWAY

TROLLEY


fen•hut VARIATIONS The possible ways in which the fen huts can be used are almost endless... FEN•CENTRE/ cafe, shop, pub, office, storage, compost toilets FEN•HISTORY/ archaeology, pump, monitoring station, interpretation FEN•FOOD/ fen-farm shop, vegetables, bakery FEN-FLORA/ greenhouse, flowers, seedling hut FEN•NATURE/ fen•hides: birds, sky, stars, insects fen• roosts: bees, bats, birds

FEN•BUNK HOUSE

FEN•FIRE PIT & SMOKEHOUSE

FEN•CAMP/ fen•stove, fen•bunkhouse, fen•studio FEN-BREW/ hop drying, brewing, filtering, maturing; cider pressing, apple store FEN-WORK/ fen•crafts, fen•pottery, chair bodging, willow weaving BEYOND THE FEN/ fen•hut in peterborough, huntingdon, london, and beyond

FEN•BIKE SHOP

FEN•CANNING HUT


FEN•BIKE SHED

FEN•BREWHOUSE

FEN•LOOKOUT

FEN•GREENHOUSE

FEN•PAINTING STUDIO

FEN•CRAFT STUDIO

FEN•CLASSROOM


VISITORS LEARN ABOUT & EXPERIENCE THE

WHAT FACILITIES WILL BE USED?

WHO WILL USE THE GREAT FEN VISITOR CENTRE?

HOW WILL VISITORS ARRIVE?

barn workshop

locals

fen•huts

great•fen THROUGH THE fen•huts

cafe/shop

londoners

waterways

cycle

board walks

hands on maker

school groups

tourists

walk

exhibition flex space

train

trails

nature lovers

drive

fen camp

history buffs

boat

offices

staff


VISTOR EXPERIENCE/

The breadth of the landscape means a wide range of types of visitor and possible lengths of visit can be accommodated. A group of friends camping overnight or for a week-end in a cluster of huts; a visiting local bird-watcher with an annual pass watching for marsh harrier early one morning in an outlying hut; a group of school children learning the history of the fens; a family picking up some local organic vegetables; a group of local photographers experimenting with nature photography.


fen•huts DOTTED ACROSS A fen•landscape

STAGE ONE-TWO/ Boardwalks have been constructed and a few fen•huts are in use. The landscape is being used for livestock grazing, the cattle helping to create shallow pools and areas of shorter and longer grass for wildlife.


STAGE THREE/ Clusters of Fen Huts appear throughout the distance of the boggy fullly restored fen landscape. Groups of young students are walking the paths, learning about the nature reserve and the construction of the simple architecture that sits harmoniously upon the land.


Design Team: the Oval partnership Planit Landscape Architects

Oval Partnership Architecture Ltd 2013 www.oval-uk.com Unit 206 24-28 Hatton Wall London EC1N 8JH Tel: +44 (0)20 8616 1766


the Oval Partnership


Great Fen