Designs for an iconic offshore visitor, operations and maintenance building have been finalised providing an educational, cultural and leisure base for local people and the 100,000 visitors expected to want to come and see Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon each year once it is up and running in 2018.*
The 3,500 m2 landmark building has been designed with strong sustainable credentials that reflect the clean energy generation of the Tidal Lagoon scheme. The architecture reflects the natural form and features of the oyster, a key part of Swansea Bay’s history. It will be sited at the end of the lagoon’s seawall with access for visitors by foot, cycle and electric bus.
The eye catching and dynamic concept comprises a series of overlapping shells which are sculpted to form an attractive bowl like structure.. The outer wall alignment will provide shelter from wind and waves and is finished in highly textured concrete with tall windows like fissures between the shells, permitting key views around the Bay. The internal curved walls will be pearlescent in finish, echoing the oyster concept and contrasting the outer surfaces and will reflect the natural light pouring into the structure. The structural soffit of the roof will be of timber construction.
In addition to operation and maintenance facilities, the building will provide a leisure, cultural and educational base and be sited adjacent to the turbine house to enable access to the turbine hall as part of the visitor’s experience. It will include public galleries, a café, lecture theatre, educational rooms and exhibition space. Turbine propellers will be visible through a glass floor from the ground floor gallery.
Areas of the roof are designed to provide a natural ecological base for wildlife to inhabit forming an educational roof garden for visitors. The building will be self-sufficient with all energy required being captured from renewable sources or transferred through recycling waste energy as a by-product of the turbines including solar panels on the roof.
Alex Herbert, Head of Planning for Tidal Lagoon Power said:
“Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will create a new waterfront for Swansea, a focus for water-based activities and a visitor destination in its own right. The masterplan and public realm design for the site, by London 2012 Olympic Park designer LDA Design, creates a ‘Maritime Park’ between Swansea Bay’s beach to the west and Crymlyn Burrows to the east and a setting for this fantastic building. The lagoon will also provide a new waterfront for the city and major water sports facility.”
“The design of the off-shore building incorporates an exciting and elegant interior with adaptable space to support changing exhibits and events, while creating a unique and memorable place for local people and visitors alike. Juice Architects have designed a building that is intrinsically linked to the lagoon, the turbine housing and sustainable energy generation, reflecting local history and the opportunities that will be created for mari-culture and leisure.”
Alister Kratt, Partner of LDA Design, said:
“The off-shore building will provide a destination building making a valuable contribution to the public realm of the Tidal Lagoon at Swansea Bay and forming a key part of the masterplan.”
Paul Newman of Juice Architects added:
“Our Iconic design responds to the challenging marine environment some 3.5 kilometres out into Swansea Bay, to create a building that expresses the potential of the ocean and represents the clean renewable energy to be generated whilst also reflective of the bay’s heritage. The design and materials are deliberately tactile – the rugged outer-shells contrast dramatically with the interior which will be a place of wonder with natural light being reflected off the pearlescent curved walls creating a stimulating environment for visitors to enjoy the educational, cultural and leisure activities the centre offers. We are proud to be part of this project team and to create a building that will be self-sustainable and a part of the World’s first tidal lagoon.”
As the world’s first, man-made, energy-generating lagoon, with 240MW nominal rated capacity averaging 16 hours of generation every day, Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will provide clean, renewable, reliable and predictable power for over 120,000 homes (enough to power 70% of Swansea Bay’s annual domestic electricity use) for over 100 years. It could be connected to the National Grid by 2018.
* A recent report by Cardiff Business School on the economic impact of Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon estimated 100,000 leisure trips per annum to the redeveloped area enclosed by the Lagoon, and some £1.5-£2.1m of gross value added and 65-90 full time job equivalents being supported per annum through tourism levered when the Lagoon is operational.