Water Activity Centre

Snell Associates Architects, Norwich, 2005


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View from across the water 

Paul Riddle (website)     Download Original

  • View from across the water    
  • The cluster of activities is arranged around a shared community space, overlooking the Great Broad    
  • The cabins accommodate the changing rooms, storage and other facilities and have great flexibility of use    
  • The cabins are made from prefabricated external plywood skins covering as internal curved glulam structure    
  • The Great Broad beyond the canopy    
  • The PTFE canopy is stretched in place by rigid tubular trusses stemming between the central spine truss and the steel tripods at the perimeter as seen here    
  • The cabins look out onto a mixed-use communal space    
  • The building at night, reflected in the water below    
  • Site plan    
  • Floor plan    
  • Section with surroundings    
  • Section    
  • Brief analysis    
  • Initial concept sketch from February 2003    
  • Site strategy of Whitlingham Country Park shows how the centre fits in with the Great Broad    
  • Detail of cabin cladding and glass facade    
  • Detail of corner of cabin    

Base for water sports and education activities in Whitlingham Country Park, located at the head of the Great Broad adjacent to the River Yare

The building formed part of an ongoing development strategy to enhance Whitlingham Country Park's educational and recreational potential. The Centre came about through a continuous dialogue between Norfolk Country Council Education Department/ Youth Services and the architect as there was no defined brief at the project's inception.

The building consists of a timber deck surrounded by individual timber cabins which provide support facilities for staff and participants. The simple prefabricated timber cabins are insulated, ventilated and heated according to their particular function.

Due to the nature of the site the cabins were constructed with the repetition of similar elements to enable prefabrication and mass production techniques to be employed. A lightweight PTFE structural fabric canopy roof is used offering solar and wind shelter.


  • Begun: Oct 2004
  • Completed: 2005
  • Floor area: 312m2
  • Sector: Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £1.6M
  • Funding: Sport England, The Lottery Fund and Norfolk County Council
  • Tender date: Jun 2004
  • Procurement: JCT 1998 Standard form of building contract with quantities incorporating amendments 1-5 and CDPS
  • Address: Whitlingham Outdoor Education Centre, Whitlingham Country Park, Trowse, Norwich, NR14 8TR, United Kingdom

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