The scheme is at the centre of the RSPB's £7 million Saltholme International Nature Reserve project, which is transforming 380ha of former industrial land into a new wetland.
The two-storey scheme features a viewing tower as well as large windows and zinc-clad roof panels, which will provide solar shading, using aircraft-construction techniques. The temperature inside the building will be controlled by a rammed-earth wall.
Alison Thornton-Sykes, principal designer with JDDK, said: 'The Saltholme Visitor Centre epitomises many of the principles in which the practice believes very strongly. We listened very closely to what the client wanted and did our own research before we began any design work.
'We recommended community-group involvement at a very early design stage and have worked with key groups, including local schools, leading to a community workshop from which we can incorporate their ideas into the detailed design stage,' she added.
Work on the scheme began earlier this month, and the centre is due to open in early 2008.