Wat Tyler Visitor Centre

Project: Wat Tyler Visitor Centre

Client: Basildon District Council

Contract Value: £2,400,000

Wat Tyler Country Park lies on the Essex coast, surrounded by salt marshes, designated SSSI and Coastal Protection Zone. The new visitor centre has been created from an old redundant industrial building that dates back to the early 1900s. The Centre provides a gateway to the park and offers visitors an insight into the ecology and history of this distinct landscape.

The new visitor centre houses an exhibition which is located on a newly created upper floor. A reception area, café, conference room, staff offices and education rooms make up the rest of the building.

It was a key objective of the design team that the building should demonstrate sustainability and low energy. The Centre uses a bio-mass wood chip boiler to heat the whole building using an underfloor heating system. A fuel crop (SRC) has been planted on the adjoining landfill site to serve the new building.

Purpose made wind catchers provide passive ventilation to cool the main spaces in the building in the summer months and give the roof line a striking feature. Rainwater is collected from the main roof and stored in an underground tank and used for flushing toilets.