GREAT FEN VISITOR CENTER cambridgeshire . united kingdom
international competition . completed

Maybe the target nowadays is not to discover what we are but to refuse what we are. We have to imagine and build up what we could be to get rid of this kind of 'double bind' which is the simultaneous individualization and totalization of modern power structures.

Michel Foucault

By embodying the animal that we all are, we used our most primal instincts to create a burrow. A nest where we feel safe in the environment and in communion with the landscape native species, by digging and shaping the earth, we propose a place of worship and awareness that together we are stronger, and all we have to do is find the opportunity to get in a common space. A place were we can relate and find ourselves as a real community, either in recreation or relaxation, improving Nature, health and well being. A place were people can work, explore, learn and enjoy the natural landscape in its original state.

The Visitor Center project is inserted in a major masterplan that lies in Huntingdonshire, between Peterborough to north and Huntingdon to the south. The Great Fen masterplan is a visionary plan to transform 3,700 hectares of largely arable land into an area of wildlife and publicly accessible fenland landscape. The Great Fen Project, as it is known, is one of the largest restoration projects in the country, and aims to increase wildlife and habitat diversity across the whole project area, and to buffer and link the currently isolated designated sites of national and international nature conservation importance.

The project aims to restore The Great Fen as it once was. A huge fenland landscape with a large area of open water called Whittlesey Mere (the largest lake in England) dominated the north and a mosaic of bogs, fens and wet woodland to the south, all covered of peat soil, which generally overlies dense clay.

type: RIBA competition
client: great fen
location: cambridgeshire, united kingdom
architecture: ines gomes, joão pedro miguel, vitor cataluna ribeiro
engineering: get - gestão de energia térmica, matriz xxi
landscaping: carina oliveira
visualization: beyond-architects
budget: 2.000.000 £
size: 1.350 m2
status: competition entry

all images © beyond-architecs