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The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre

​The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre

by Jane Darbyshire & David Kendall Ltd

Client Northumberland National Park Authority
Award RIBA North East Award 2018

© Kristen McCluskie

The scheme celebrates the landscape of the region in a harmonious building that seems to spring from the landscape. Its long sweeping roof leads the visitor from ground level up to the apex of the building where a platform provides views of the Northumberland landscape. The planting on the roof is particularly successful, using local grassland mixes to support local species and the use of locally quarried stone walls sets the building successfully within its landscape.

The long-distance views onto the scheme from Hadrian’s Wall are particularly well considered as the mass of the building sinks into the hillside and these roofs take on the form of a series of low scale farm buildings.

The site sits within the World Heritage site and Northumberland National Park and extensive community and school engagement was carried out to develop the brief and embed the scheme in the local community. A key requirement that came from this was the sustainability brief that includes a fabric first passive solar design approach with improved insulation and good airtightness levels, green roofs, photovoltaics, and solar thermal panels that reduce the buildings energy demands. The photovoltaic canopy support along with natural stack ventilation through high level windows acts to control overheating.

The approach to the building leads visitors to the curving glass façade oversailed by a canopy of photovoltaic panels. Once inside, the building opens out through a series of exhibition spaces, classrooms and social areas, all with views to the landscape beyond. The route then takes visitors out and along a 1 in 21 accessible path over the roof of the building. Enabling wheelchair users to enjoy the countryside was a fundamental requirement of the brief.

The judges praised the way the building interacts with the landscape and respects the historic setting. It stimulates and delights users of all ages and has already exceeded its visitor and client's expectations.

Architect Jane Darbyshire & David Kendall Ltd
Client Northumberland National Park Authority
Contractor Sir Robert McAlpineProject Manager Gardiner & Theobald
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant Gardiner & Theobald
Landscape Architect Glen Kemp (Newcastle) Ltd
Planning Consultants Cundall
Structural Engineer Patrick Parsons
Interpretative Design Consultant Bright 3D
Access Consultant Gateshead Access Panel
Environmental / M&E Engineers Cad 21

© Kristen McCluskie
© Sally Ann Norman
© Sally Ann Norman
© Sally Ann Norman
© Sally Ann Norman
© Sally Ann Norman
© Sally Ann Norman
© Sally Ann Norman
© Sally Ann Norman
© JDDK Architects Ltd
© JDDK Architects Ltd
© JDDK Architects Ltd
© JDDK Architects Ltd
© JDDK Architects Ltd
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