Brockholes Nature Reserve north of Liverpool and Manchester will soon have the UK's first floating nature reserve and visitor's centre. Under construction and nearly complete, the Brockholes Visitor Centre will float on a large pontoon foundation out in the middle of wetland area. Besides the obvious anti-flooding benefits, the Centre, designed by Adam Khan Architects, is already on track to becoming BREEAM Outstanding certified and will be zero-carbon.
Brockholes is a new nature reserve, owned by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and constructed on the remains of an abandoned quarry near Preston, England. The area has been rehabilitated with wetlands, a hay meadow, woods and hiking trails to take it all in. The new 67-acre reserve and visitor centre was made possible with a sizable grant of £8 million from the North West Regional Development Agency, which includes landscaping and habitat creation. When the reserve opens later this spring, visitors will be able to ramble along the paths, explore the habitat, bird watch and much more.
The Visitor Centre, which floats on pontoons in the wetlands area, will also be a carbon neutral event venue. Adam Khan Architects won a RIBA competition to masterplan the reserve as well as design the Visitor Centre, which is characterized by a village-like cluster of tall peaked buildings with large windows overlooking the wetlands and reserve. Visitors standing on the decks of the Centre get an up close look at nature. The design phase of the buildings have already achieved BREEAM Outstanding and the project is on target to achieve Outstanding once the project has been completed as well.
WHY THIS MATTERS:
Aside from being home to many species of animals, wetlands help keep ecosystems in check by absorbing excess water during wet periods and releasing it during dry periods – so losing them would be seriously detrimental to the environment. By preserving these wetlands and creating a sustainable visitor center on them, Brockholes can educate the public about them without adding more stress to this delicate area.