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Powell Dobson's Newport Wetlands winner

A Cardiff-based practice has beaten-off competition from 40 other European practices with these designs for an environmental education centre in Newport.

Powell Dobson's £2 million project, which was recently granted planning permission, will form a gateway to the Newport Wetlands Nature Reserve on the Severn Estuary.

Constructed from steel, glass and timber, the single-storey building will sit above the water and surrounding reed beds.

The building will have a transparent facade, enabling visitors to make the most of the views over the wetlands, and the sight of feeding birds.

The scheme also includes educational facilities, a viewing platform, shop, café and cloakrooms.

Ian Howells, project architect with Powell Dobson, said: 'Our design is very much centred on the concepts of visibility, sustainability and longevity.

'We want the building to be practical, to allow visitors to view the birds with ease, but also sustainable so it blends in with the local environment. We have chosen materials that mimic the range of colours, both natural and man made, which already exist on the site.'

Work is due to commence in spring/summer 2006.

by Rob Sharp

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