London-based Juice Architects has revealed designs of their visitor centre for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon
Sited at the end of the lagoon’s seawall, the offshore centre will provide a cultural and leisure space for visitors to the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon. It will include public galleries, a café, lecture theatre, educational rooms and an exhibition space.
The form of the 3,500m² centre reflects the natural form and features of an oyster.
The man-made Swansea Bay energy-generating tidal lagoon will provide enough electricity to power 70 per cent of Swansea Bay’s annual domestic electricity use. The visitor centre scheme will give views of the Bay’s tidal power generators through a glass floor in the gallery space.
The centre is expected to complete in 2018.
The architect’s view
Our iconic design responds to the challenging marine environment some 3.5 kilometres out into Swansea Bay, to create a building that expresses the potential of the ocean and represents the clean renewable energy to be generated whilst also reflective of the bay’s heritage. The design and materials are deliberately tactile – the rugged outer-shells contrast dramatically with the interior which will be a place of wonder with natural light being reflected off the pearlescent curved walls creating a stimulating environment for visitors to enjoy the educational, cultural and leisure activities the centre offers.
The eye catching and dynamic concept comprises a series of overlapping shells which are sculpted to form an attractive bowl like structure. The outer wall alignment will provide shelter from wind and waves and is finished in highly textured concrete with tall windows like fissures between the shells, permitting key views around the Bay. The internal curved walls will be pearlescent in finish, echoing the oyster concept and contrasting the outer surfaces and will reflect the natural light pouring into the structure. The structural soffit of the roof will be of timber construction.
Areas of the roof are designed to provide a natural ecological base for wildlife to inhabit forming an educational roof garden for visitors. The building will be self-sufficient with all energy required being captured from renewable sources or transferred through recycling waste energy as a by-product of the turbines including solar panels on the roof.