The architecture of Brockholes, by RIBA award winning Adam Khan Architects turned what was once a gravel quarry into a state-of-the-art Visitor Village. Inspired by Thesinger’s images of Iraqi Marsh Arabs, Adam Khan aspired to an architecture of timeless simplicity.
The village-like cluster of buildings, floating on a large pontoon gives flood protection, and brings visitors closer to nature. Since its opening in 2011, the reeds have grown and the Visitor Village has become nestled amongst them.
This combination of sophisticated prefabrication and engineering, native materials and lively shared spaces offers a recipe for an architecture of the 21st Century.
The roof is made out of Oak shakes, an excellent renewable resource, readily available in the UK. This material is easy to use and has matured to a silvery grey colour, helping the Visitor Village to blend into the natural environment.
The pontoon is made from concrete and designed with a honeycomb effect. This material had the lowest embedded energy levels, and is the most sustainable in the long term of those considered. Other possible materials were plastic, which would have been too thick, and steel, which was not a sustainable long term option due to rust.
Seven years on
Fast forward seven years and the Visitor Village is going from strength to strength. The floating mechanism got us through heavy rain and drought, the wildlife is thriving, the reeds are providing shelter and a plant life is blooming. Our unique architectural design makes us the first floating nature reserve in the UK, providing a restaurant, shop and educational areas as well as an eco-friendly conference centre and wedding venue.