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Acle Bridge visitor centre contest winner revealed

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Feilden + Mawson has won the contest to design a £750,000 visitor centre for the Broads Authority at Acle Bridge, Norfolk

The practice, which has offices in Norwich, Cambridge and London, saw off Mole Architects and emerging outfit Mills Power Architecture to land the project for a 1.1ha riverfront plot next to the River Bure.

The anonymous design competition attracted 95 entries.

The winning scheme will transform the site into a major new tourist destination for visitors to the 303km² Broads National Park. It provides new educational displays and views over the surrounding natural landscape.

The site, next to the A1064, currently features a shop, car parking, private and public moorings and an out-of-use public toilet.

According to the brief, the new building will ‘harness innovative construction techniques’ and feature multipurpose education spaces along with a café and toilets, a cycle hire centre and facilities for boaters.

Acle Bridge, Norfolk

Acle Bridge, Norfolk

John Last, vice-chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts and chair of the Acle Bridge design competition panel, said: ‘The judging panel was impressed by the quality and ingenuity of the submissions, making it an incredibly difficult decision.’

Jacquie Burgess, chair of the Broads Authority, added: ’We’ve been absolutely amazed by the response to the competition. It is flattering to think that so many people put in so much thought and hard work to help us create something special for the Broads.’

Explaining Feilden + Mawson’s contest-winning design, Philip Bodie, a partner at the firm’s Norwich office, said: ’It was important to us that the building offered room to grow and be adaptable to future needs. Above all, in our opinion, it needed to be a visible beacon, helping to teach and tell the story of the Broads National Park for generations to come.

The structure is regular, modular and extrudable

‘The design’s structure is regular, modular and extrudable and we are exploring a construction methodology that will minimise the time on site. Sustainability will be at the heart of the new facility, not only in its build but also its servicing and future maintenance.’

According to the authority, the next stage will be ’a full business analysis of the potential costs and income that such a facility could generate before [it] commits to approaching funding bodies for financial contributions.’

The shortlist

  • Acle Bridge National Park & Education Centre Feilden + Mawson (Norwich)
  • The Large White Mole Architects (Cambridge)
  • The Periscope Mills Power Architecture (London)
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