Visitor’s Centre, Coton Country Park, Cambridgeshire, 2010

Invited Competition Entry

A large roof overhangs a long wall against which one can sit, out of the rain and in the afternoon sun, facing a new pond. Groups can gather here as a place to teach or drink tea. Each of the rooms (education, café and rangers offices and store) are accessed along a linear external route. The timber roof is made up of trusses of increasing size that produces an expressive variation of the local timber barns, and walls of cast hemp help produce a robust, simple, low energy building.

We have a love of simple, direct forms of building. We believe that doing the simplest thing is often the best, and that low-tech solutions are likely to be a success over time as there is less to go wrong. The design for this building was informed from our investigations into the work of the Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn, whose buildings are often strong forms and made with raw materials with a contrast of the warmth of timber and the strength of concrete.