The Oostvaardersplassen is a protected ecological wetland-area: so, how to make a visitor centre that makes the inaccessible accessible? By lifting the program above the level of the forest, like an observation hut adapted to the scale of the area, the visitor to the nature centre is offered a panorama over the protected ecological area. At the same time the building functions as a landmark, visible from afar.

Project Name: Nature Centre
Studio Name: MVRDV
Location: Netherlands
City: Lelystad, Oostvaardersplassen
Year: 2002
Budget: €4,000,000
Surface: 1500 m²
Client: Staatsbosbeheer
Status: Design
Programs: Bar-restaurant, Auditorium, Exhibition
Themes: Architecture, Leisure

Nature Centre by MVRDV - Sheet1
©MVRDV

The Oostvaardersplassen is a protected ecological wetland-area that lies between Almere and Lelystad next to the Markermeer. Bird watchers and visitors to the wetlands have limited access, an understandable attempt to conserve and protect the nature. The forestry department of the Netherlands is faced with a paradox: how to make a visitor centre that makes the inaccessible accessible?

Nature Centre by MVRDV - Sheet2
©MVRDV

By lifting the program above the level of the trees – an observation hut adapted to the scale of the Oostvaardersplassen – the visitor is offered a panorama over the protected ecological area, the neighbouring Markermeer and the lake behind the dyke.

Nature Centre by MVRDV - Sheet3
©MVRDV

On arrival, the building disappears behind a mass of green. Wandering between the trees on a boardwalk, the visitor ‘discovers’ the centre.

Author

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