The visitor centre at Brockholes is part of a project to transform a former gravel quarry into a wildlife-rich environmental attraction.

Designed by RIBA award-winning Adam Khan Architect, the centre is a 2400 meter square pontoon carrying a shop, restaurant, education and conference facilities, which floats on a lake.

The pontoon is a cellular reinforced concrete structure with polystyrene infills. Special measures have been taken in line with the sustainable objectives of the project, including the use of sustainable materials and environmental management.

The building is environmentally low impact and has energy conservation features, renewable technology, reduced water usage and composting and recycling facilities.

The project is supported by a partnership of Northwest organisations, including Lancashire Wildlife Trust (who are the site owners and are leading the development), the Forestry Commission and the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), the primary funder of the project.

NWDA head of environmental quality, Richard Tracey, said: “The transformation of Brockholes is a flagship example of just how to regenerate large areas of brownfield land.

“The design of the building is exceptional and a great example of how NWDA funding has helped to encourage innovative thinking to work towards achieving a low carbon future.”

Brockholes is set to open to the public in spring 2011 and hopes to attract over 250,000 people annually from across the UK.

Alison Brown

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