The Visitor Centre will be built at New Decoy Farm, north of the B660 road, which is known locally as Long Drove. Look for New Decoy Farm on the Project Area Map.
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The new Visitor Centre will be the Great Fen’s hub - an essential part of the evolving fenland landscape, stimulating exploration and serving its visitors to the highest standards.
In October 2012 the Great Fen Project Partners announced a competition to design a spectacular Visitor Centre at the heart of the Great Fen. Hosted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) the competition attracted 201 entries from design teams across the UK and Europe, the biggest competition entry RIBA had experienced in recent years. The huge entry included many interesting and unusual designs and the judging panel had great difficulty, whittling it down first to a shortlist of five architectural practices and then choosing a winner. You can read more details and see a video about the competition here.
The winning design, produced by a team consisting of Shiro Studio Ltd, Mesh Partnership and Equals Consulting, reflects the Great Fen’s vision of sweeping scale and ambition. The Judging Panel felt that Shiro Studio’s elegant proposals would sit beautifully within the expansive landscape. The team had skillfully incorporated elements of the traditional fenland type of building within an exciting contemporary visitor centre design. There will be a silvery and bog-oak black exterior, shimmering with the play of fenland light. This will contrast markedly with and complement the spacious, light-filled interiors and panoramic views onto the surrounding landscape.
The Visitor Centre will be built at New Decoy Farm, north of the B660 road, which is known locally as Long Drove. Look for New Decoy Farm on the Project Area Map. There are currently farm buildings and the derelict New Decoy bungalow on the site, as can be seen in the image below.
The components of the building will include a reception area, exhibition space, cafeteria and kitchen, staffroom and offices, retail shop, meeting room, store rooms and toilets.
Here are some excerpts from the architects' brief and below is an animation that may help you decide how far the design meets the criteria. You can also see the Floor Plan here.
We now have a costed design plan. It is hoped that work will start on the Visitor Centre within 5 years, once sufficient funds have been raised. So..... please watch this space!