BSD was appointed to complete mechanical and electrical engineering services for the RSPB’s new, £5 million visitor’s centre in Sherwood Forest, which has now opened its doors to the public and will accommodate the forest’s 350,000 annual visitors.
As the centre is predominantly wooden, it required entirely exposed services which presented a challenge in terms of creating an overall appealing aesthetic – balancing the building’s functionality with ensuring that it complemented one of the country’s oldest forests.
This was negotiated by strategically integrating high-level services – particularly the high-level containment which houses the electrical cable – to follow the curvature of the uniquely sloped roof.
The client also wanted the building to be as environmentally friendly as possible, so a considerable amount of thermal modelling was undertaken to ensure that the centre achieved its required B energy rating.
To respond to the tight site, air source heat pumps were installed – requiring less space than ground source heat pumps but still meaning that heating and hot water are available on demand.
The centre includes:
• A contemporary reception area
• Retail space
• A café
• Toilets and changing place facilities for disabled people and wheelchair users
• An impressive, double height atrium