Walkway and Sanctuary

Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, 2012

 

Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

 

    Download Original

  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  • Sanctuary Plan    
  • Sanctuary Section    
  • Perspective    
  • Perspective    
  • Perspective    
  • Perspective    
  • Sanctuary exploded    
  • Sanctuary exploded    
  • Walkway elevations    
  • Walkway dimensions    
  •     
  • Details    
  • Details    

A quiet walk through the trees and waterside meditative space offers visitors to the Centre for Alternative Technology a moment to absorb their beautiful surroundings

The brief was to design a clearly delineated walkway and a sanctuary space able to seat and shelter people, to provide somewhere for staff and visitors to relax, reflect and enjoy their lovely surroundings.

The pathway offers a journey through the woodland canopy and guides visitors towards the WISE building. The walkway is designed as a series of thresholds through the woods inspired by branches of a tree’s structure. The structures articulate the journey and the angle at which their up most section is built lowers until it becomes perpendicular with the ground at the point the path reaches the sanctuary. This provides a visual connection with the strong horizontals of the sanctuary space.

The sanctuary itself is a detour, a space that remains somewhat hidden until the path leads a visitor upon it, offering an unexpected destination. The approach offers only threaded glimpses of the interior spaces, and it is not until a visitor passes entirely through the entrance way to the main deck that they discover a full unobstructed view of the water and a place to sit and contemplate it.

The structure cantilevers out over a still pool among the trees. It is made entirely from Western Hemlock sourced from a small timber mill situated within five miles of the site. The structure was designed as a series of frames built by the students and then carried into place by hand and attached together in series. This building method allowed the creation of an exceptionally heavy and strong structure able to support the primary elements - two large cantilevers - one of which forms the jetty-like deck extending out over the water, and the other providing a semi-permeable roof, offering shelter and a dappled play of light onto the wood beneath.

Once inside the structure directs the visitors attention outwards upon their surroundings, creating thresholds, and layers to the views it frames with its plant screens and layers of timber. The permeability with its natural surroundings that the space offers encourages users to enjoy a full sensory interaction with the beautiful welsh countryside whilst still being offered a level of shelter from the elements.

Data

  • Begun: Aug 2012
  • Completed: Aug 2012
  • Floor area: 12m2
  • Sectors: Public realm, Landscape design
  • Total cost: £2,600
  • Tender date: Aug 2012
  • Procurement: No formal contract
  • Address: Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, SY20 9AZ, United Kingdom

Professional Team

Suppliers