Set in a former gravel pit, landscaped as a park, the Visitors Pavilion houses a cafe, exhibition hall and other spaces.
Zaha Hadid describes the concept as 'emerging from the fluid geometry of the surrounding network of paths, three of which entangle to form the building'. The exhibition hall and cafe are 'stretched' along the contours of these paths.
Designed for low energy use, the 150m-long structure is formed of highly insulated cast in-situ concrete supported on universal columns and enclosed with double-glazed windows. The concrete, cast with plywood shuttering, has a fair-faced finish both inside and out. The cold bridge effect normally associated with the use of fair-faced finish on both sides was avoided by inserting an Isokorb insulant system between eaves and roof slab; the system incorporates S-shaped stainless steel rods which connect the reinforcement without conducting heat.
The detailing expresses the nature of the materials and makes clear the junctions between them. The exposed edges of the concrete eaves slab are left unadorned; horizontal faces are canted to direct rainwater away from the face and exposed soffits are fitted with cast-in drip rebates to prevent pattern staining.
In the cafe and exhibition hall the aluminium window frames and insulation around them are concealed behind double layers of plasterboard. An L- shaped aluminium profile welded to each aluminium frame member acts as a trim to give a clean profile to the lower edge of the plasterboard; the upper edge is cut short to make a shadow-gap with the fair-faced concrete ceiling.