RSPB Environment and Education Centre, Rainham

van Heyningen and Haward Architects, Purfleet, 2006


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Centre facade showing light towers 

Jason Orton (website)     Download Original

  • Centre facade showing light towers    
  • View across marshes to centre at dusk    
  • Centre placed on land built up as a defence against flooding    
  • First floor level entrance and access walkways    
  • Principal public space on the first floor    
  • Covered terrace on the south side of the building    
  • Interior of principal public space    
  • Interior of principal public space    
  • Viewing area on ground floor    
  • Marshes    
  • Mashes and Thames    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Roof plan    
  • Section    
  • North elevation    
  • East elevation    
  • South elevation    
  • West elevation    
  • Sketch section exploring form     
  • Sketch section exploring form     
  • Sketch isometric exploring layout    
  • Sketch isometric exploring layout    
  • Landscape sketch    
  • Concept sketch 1    
  • Concept sketch 2    
  • Concept south west elevation    
  • Environmental Strategy    
  • Chimney Strategy    
  • Light towers being craned into place    
  • Centre facade showing light towers    
  • Concrete floor slab    
  • Raised walkway    
  • Concrete structure    

Environment and Education centre for the RSPB at Rainham Marshes, designed to meet high environmental standards

The client required a new education centre situated on protected marsh land in Purfleet. This included provision of a reception and cafe area with good views across the marshes and education, kitchen, office and meeting spaces.

The building’s unusual form and striking façade contrast with the surroundings, creating a distinctive addition to this important wetland area.

The Centre has achieved BREEAM Excellent certification and its environmental design features, such as a ground source heat exchange pump, photovoltaic cells and a rainwater harvesting tank, embody the client’s commitment to sustainable development, while also creating a benchmark for development in the Thames Gateway area.


  • Begun: Aug 2005
  • Completed: Jun 2006
  • Floor area: 546m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £2.2M
  • Tender date: Jan 2005
  • Procurement: JCT98 with contractor's designed portion supplements
  • Address: New Tank Hill Road, Purfleet, RM19 1SZ, United Kingdom

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