Drost + van Veen architects realise nature-education centre at the lakeside
Nature-education centre ‘The Oostvaarders’ is situated in a unique nature reserve in Europe: The Oostvaardersplassen in Almere, The Netherlands. The building is constructed at a junction of various landscapes with the different characters of land, water, forest and reed fields. To serve a wide audience there is an information room, classroom, panorama-room, restaurant and representative meeting-room.
The Oostvaarders presents itself in two different shapes. From the parking the shape rises like a vertical beacon from the plain. In contrast the shape from the lakeside is horizontal, connecting with the extensive dyke and water. On the first floor the panorama-room, with a large horizontal window, gives a stunning view over the lake. The entrance of the building is situated at the foot of the dyke.
From the entrance the visitor climbs the stairs to the crow’s nest: an exterior space to view the environment. This movement is emphasised by a continuous sightline through the building that connects the entrance and the crow’s nest. In order to minimise a disruption in the surrounding natural environment, the building time was reduced to a minimum. Therefore, the building is constructed in prefab, massive, wooden walls and floors. The LenoTec walls are fabricated in Finland. The use of these prefabricated elements made an 8m overhang over the lake possible.
In addition, wood is a light material with a high isolation. The natural expression of this material remains visible in the interior, like in a wooden cottage. The facades are constructed of prefab, timbered pinewood, elements in different patterns and textures. The perforations in the facade vary in direction and size. By framing the view everytime in a different way, the visitor will learn to observe the environment.