The scheme provides new visitor, interpretation and education facilities for the National Pinetum at Bedgebury, the complete collection of temperate conifers in the world.
The new facilities are placed at the head of a valley, alongside an existing forest stream whose waters are used to feed a new lake. The new building remains deliberately low, in places consumed by the sites indigenous vegetation, with a rich roof-scape of heavy planting and delicate copper leaves. A fan-shaped interpretation space exists as a knuckle within the plan with is rising interior volume reflecting the spacial qualities of a forest clearing.
The scheme acts as a demonstation project for woodland sustainability with a replenished wood-chip CHP system providing micro-power generation and underfloor heating. All timber used for the construction of the building is sourced from the Forestry Commissions own reserves.
The environmentally sustainable approach is manifest through the building’s design and specification with its sections carefully composed to provide day-lighting, seasonal solar gains and natural ventilation coupled with passive cooling assisted by the evaporative potential of the lake itself.