Wetlands Ecology Centre


A competition entry for a new educational centre for a wetlands ecology park in London Docklands. The site was the polluted Limmo peninsular on the River Lea and function of the Centre was to demonstrate how soil can be cleansed naturally by water and plants. The competition brief defined a fast track construction programme and a tight budget.


The new centre is a linear pavilion following the line of the river and cantilevered out over the embankment. The building is  a simple, pre-fabricated timber structure constructed from sustainable sources of birch. The laminated birch frame is braced by stressed skin birch plywood panels that form the floors, walls and ceilings.  Both frame and panel members would be made off site, brought up the river by barge and then craned onto the triangulated stainless steel support structure which itself is supported on concrete piles driven into the river embankment.


The building is naturally ventilated, highly insulated, and self-sufficient in terms of both water supply and drainage. Water for irrigating the site is pumped from the river using a double action river turbine which is driven by the flow of the river itself. The water is pumped into a large holding tank, and as part of this process is fed through a 12 metre high transparent tube located at the entrance to the centre to create a tower of water that would be emblematic of the whole enterprise.

6 Gordon Mansions Torrington Place London WC1E 7HE  |  London +44 (0)20 7636 6721  | Suffolk +44 (0)1379 668417  |