© 2016 by SALT Architects

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Spurn Point Visitor Centre

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

 

This project involved the delivery of a new visitor centre, and offices for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust at the Spurn National Nature Reserve.

 

The reserve is extraordinary. A narrow strip of mud and sand arcing across the mouth of the Humber estuary, it is a special place, noted for its wildlife, its history, its buildings and its landscape.  It is designated as an internationally important wetland , as a wildlife site of European importance, both for its birds (as and its habitats and, unsurprisingly, for its national significance.  It is designated for its extraordinary geomorphology and has listed buildings on site.  It is recognised as part of the Heritage Coast and also has significant military archaeology from Napoleonic to World War II structures.

For many, though, it is the awe-inspiring landscape of wide open skies above the narrow spit of sand between the vast mud-flats of the Humber estuary and the wild North Sea that makes Spurn so attractive to visit. Yet more visitors come for its birds, for the abundant winter birdlife of the estuary, the constant drift of sea-birds passing the Point or the rarities that every year turn up during the migration, in which the shape of Holderness funnels birds onto the Point, where they rest up before moving on.  Other visitors dig for bait and enjoy recreational angling; some come to see ships passing the Point or to see at first hand the military remains.  Whatever reason visitors enjoy Spurn, it has a fascinating and richly layered storyboard. 

This unique place called for a unique solution to deliver a building which was fit for purpose, allowing rising sea levels to claim the ground floor in times of flood, and one which responded to its landscape.

The facility brings together all YWT operations at Spurn by providing space for a café, an office, an education room, toilets and a store. Additional facilities are provided for bird ringing and temporary storage to help RNLI maintain their essential services beyond the wash over at Spurn. 

The new visitor centre sought to employ innovative design and manufacturing solutions whilst remaining site specific. Manufactured offsite as modular units, allowing the building to be relocated in years to come as tides rise and Spurn changes once more, the ground foor gabion baskets provide spaces for wildlife to inhabit and form a ramp and sheltered courtyard area for outdoor seating and environmental education activities whilst protecting wildlife around the site from disturbance by people.