City Architecture Office  

Brockholes Visitor Centre


Project Value: £4 million
Client: Lancashire Wildlife Trust

The new Brockholes visitor facility acts as a welcoming gateway to the site and will encourage and inspire people to visit and engage with the natural world. It is carefully sited to harmonise with its landscape setting at the north shore of the eastern wetland. The building is a desirable destination at the hub of all external and future facilities in the nature reserve.

The accommodation is arranged over 2 floors with a level access main public floor set at a height of 15m above sea level to minimise the risk of flooding. The hub is a linear form orientated NE to SW. The roof has two parts: a dramatic monopitch to the SE and a green flat roof to the NW. At the intersection is a NW facing clerestory.

The design promotes extensive use of sustainable technologies. Key elements include natural daylight and ventilation, electricity from photovoltaics and possibly wind power, sensor activated low energy artificial lighting, rainwater harvesting, a bio disc sewage treatment plant, heating and hot water from ground source and exhaust air heat recovery and the potential for CHP. The envelope has sheepswool insulation, timber cladding and roof coverings and other recycled materials. The ultimate potential is for the centre to be entirely self-sufficient and fully functional, independent of mains services.


A landscape framework integrates with the new visitor facilities and encourages people to explore the whole site. It is expressed through a simple palette of materials appropriate to the sensitive location. Subtle interpretive elements are introduced at key locations as a navigational and wayfinding aid in relation to the new visitor centre. They may have an educational content making reference to the wetlands. Any new interventions would be sensitively co-ordinated with interpretive elements.