May 16, 2013
All images courtesy of Shiro Studio
In one of the most courageous re-wilding schemes since the Netherlands’ Oostvaardersplassen, the UK’s Great Fen Project proposes to transform 3,000 hectares of arable land back into fen, a unique type of British wetland. This new collection of woodland, scrub, wetland, ponds, and grasses needed, of course, a new visitors center to welcome and educate nature lovers. Luckily, the winners in an associated RIBA-run competition have just been announced!
Shiro Studio, in collaboration with Mesh Partnership and Equals Consulting, has designed a poetic series of intersecting volumes to be sited in the Great Fen. Clad in bog-black oak to fit with vernacular structures, the building presents a strong contrast to winter landscapes, while its subtle reflectivity introduces an interplay with the water. The building also makes strides toward energy self-sufficiency, with PV panels and geothermal heating.