Two walkways lead visitors out into the wetlands. At the point where they meet, the western walk elevates and sprouts vertical slats that swell like a protective shield of reeds to form the visitor centre building. The building itself lies four metres above ground to ensure there is no risk of flooding from the varying ebb of the Helge River. From this height, visitors can enjoy an excellent view of the waterfowl and wildlife around the lake.
The protected, multifunctional ‘nest’ at the meeting point of building and bridge provides generous areas for gathering outdoors in a setting that does not disturb the bird life. This allows contact with the water and serves as an important link between building and bridge.Competition jury panel, Kristianstad Municipality
The eastern walk is lower and gently swings out to form a recessed area next to the visitor centre – like a bird’s nest; a retreat among the reeds. This protected area allows visitors a closer look at the water, native plants, and wildlife.
Sheltered by nature
Entering Naturum Vattenriket makes for a dramatic change of scenery. Visitors are greeted by a generous gallery space that fans out to open a vista of the lake. Indoors become outdoors, as the glazed curve of the south façade presents a panoramic landscape; guests can see the lake from all points inside the centre. Pillars, glazed panels and brise soleil filter the soft light throughout the main space, giving visitors the feeling of being sheltered by the natural surroundings.
A restaurant and roof garden occupy the top floor of Naturum Vattenriket. This is a perfect vantage point from which to observe the osier beds and experience the low-lying landscape from above.
The exhibition design in the gallery space also reflects clumps of reed. A mix of natural and white glazed pinewood slats of varying widths and lengths shape the displays and furniture; an undulating miniature landscape. The slats echo throughout the interior; from the ceiling baffles to wall partitions, while the Kerto frame construction provides a structural and aesthetic rigour.
The predominant material throughout is wood. Cross-laminated timber is accented by naturally oxidised aluminium and colour-toned cement chipboard. Outside, heat-treated pine façades and the linseed-oiled boardwalk surfaces ensure weatherproofing. As time passes, the pine will weather to a silver-grey, reflecting the lake and skies.