- Planning and Design
Planning and Design Process
The principle objective of the project was to improve visitor facilities at Aberdulais Falls by replacing the existing temporary buildings with a new, purpose built, visitor centre. The design process involved working closely with the client to achieve their aspirations for the project, and included a number of design reviews by the National Trust’s own architectural panel.
The building design for Aberdulais Falls attempts to clearly distinguish between the old and the new, whilst also being sympathetic with the historic and natural surroundings. The building responds to its wooded industrial setting, in its use of local stone, timber, steel, and a metal roof to reflect the site’s former use as a tinplate works.
The close working relationship allowed the collaboration on, and inclusion of various artworks into the building. A stacked glass installation therefore reflects the flow of water, particularly when movement is created when rising up the entrance steps, forming an immediate feature at the entrance to the building.
The building is heated via an air source heat pump, which is run from a turbine attached to the water wheel. The site sells excess electricity to the National Grid when not needed – however, this is dependent upon rainfall levels at different times of the year, to drive the water wheel. A computer screen has been installed within the shop for the public to view as an educational tool. This enables them to monitor the amount of energy the site generates and the building uses, thus emphasising the sustainable credentials of the building to the general public in an understandable format.
The envelope of the building is highly insulated with Warmcell insulation, composed of recycled newspaper, and locally sourced. In addition to this, building an element of the building into the ground has provided a natural source of insulation. The sedum roof over the Educational Resource Centre provides good insulation, whilst also replacing part of the green area removed from the site for the new building.
- Design and Construction Information
Client: The National Trust
Architect: Davies Sutton Architects
Date of Completion: 2006
Contract value: £723,374.49
Site Area: 351 m2