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Adaptable Futures: Fenland Hydrology Research Facility

Part 1 Project 2014
John Wildsmith
University of Lincoln, UK
The project is a response to an investigative study of the flat, bleak, quiet landscape of the Lincolnshire Fens, which is one of the richest agricultural areas within the British Isles, producing a third of all the vegetables and flowers grown and sold in the country. In order to remain viable for agriculture, the land - which lies below sea level - is in constant need of pumping as the water naturally wants to return the land to the salt marshes that existed hundreds of years ago.

The brief for the project is a wind power station providing power for local pumping stations and farms as well establishing a scientific facility to observe water quality in the area. The sensitive site on the edge of The Wash coastline, known as Lawyers Creek, acts as a test bed to understand whether small, localised wind farms can be viable for pumping the whole of the Fens.

The Architectural language and aesthetic were derived and developed firstly from the mechanical processes that can be seen in the facility, from renewable energy production to water purification, but also secondly in response to the fragile landscape it sits within. The verticality of the building is in stark contrast to the flat topography, acting as a landmark, a place to be seen and to see from. The facilities inclusion of pre-fabricated elements and a core structure enables the project to grow and shift as the landscape around it also changes with time.

John Wildsmith


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