Leeds based architects Group Ginger has been appointed by Yorkshire Water to design a bespoke £600,000 wildlife viewing centre.
Although its proportions are small, the new bird hide will be at the heart of the centre which is situated at Tophill Low near Driffield, a 300 acre nature reserve that is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Yorkshire Water owns the Tophill Low nature reserve which lies alongside the River Hull and consists of a patchwork of reservoirs, grassland, marshland and woodland, which throughout the course of the year are sanctuary for more than 160 different types of bird.
The new viewing centre is scheduled to open in summer next year and will feature elevated views over a reservoir full of bird life, whilst hiding within the landscape.
Included in the structure will be a ground level meeting room and educational area, as well as storage spaces and an outdoor seating area with viewing points on the floor above.
On the upper level a ‘Twitchers’ Hide’ will sit next to a viewing gallery that will give clear views across the reservoir.
A log burning stove will heat the first floor viewing gallery when needed, using wood harvested on the site. The level will be dominated by a 10 metre long gallery, complete with telescopes and webcams broadcasting live scenes from the nature reserve.
Among the design elements that create visual contrasts throughout the building are large cantilevers that form a floating corner.
These have been incorporated along with natural building materials including the cedar shingles that cover the roof and external walls which will weather consistently, in order that the structure becomes a natural fit in its environment.
The centre’s ground floor walls will be made from fibre cement board, with steep grassed and heavily planted banks as the retaining walls to blend into the surrounding terrain.