Main ContractorMansell Construction
ArchitectAdam Khan Architects
Structural EngineerPrice & Myers


To develop a visitor centre for Lancashire Wildlife Trust that reflects their values innately.

The Results

A leisure facility in a league of its own. Brockholes Wetland Centre is made solely from engineered timber and is a spectacle to behold.

About The Client

In 2008, Lancashire Wildlife Trust set a challenge to design an iconic Visitor and Education Centre at the Brockholes Nature Reserve. Sustainability was at the heart of the proposal and B&K Structures embraced the challenge to deliver a waterborne project that would defy expectations.

Located in a former gravel pit near Preston, the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire wanted to steer people off the motorway and into nature. It has unequivocally managed to show how a motorway stop can be something altogether different. The new visitor centre at the 67-hectare Brockholes Wetland and Woodland Nature Reserve is set on a floating ‘island’ on the newly created lake.

The Brief

As sustainability was a prerequisite, timber was the obvious choice of material not only for the aesthetic appeal but also for its weight and sustainability.

Glulam was used as the main structural element, for the walls and roofs, providing a naturally engineered, high load-bearing solution with sound environmental benefits. To avoid the potential risk of flooding, the cluster of five glulam timber frame structures are covered with a skin of structural insulated panels (SIP) which provide racking resistance to the structure while also giving a high level of insulation and airtightness. The roofs, which rise up to 10 metres in height, are steeply pitched and clad with oak shades. The walls are clad with vertical oak boards and are glazed with full-height double-glazed fixed units and sliding doors.

The Project

"The challenge with such a design is to make it float!" said architect Adam Khan. "We required a strong yet lightweight material: engineered timber was the obvious solution, as it gave the opportunity to fabricate incredible geometric shapes out of durable and sustainable material. I was impressed by the products supplied by B&K Structures – they have provided some striking pieces of engineered timber and the overall effect is amazing."

Major Works Manager at Mansell, Steve Chapman commented: "The technical expertise from B&K Structures has been a great asset. They designed an innovative method to fix together the structural elements and provided us with 3D models to help overcome interface issues and any challenges of assembling the frame."

The design won great acclaim for architects Adam Khan, winning Public Building Architect of the Year together with RIBA, Civic Trust, and Wood Awards. The highly-engineered timber design, together with the reduction of on-site material wastage, site time and embedded carbon costs, contributed to the development of achieving a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating.

The team have created a wonderful new building which perfectly reflects our environmental ethics.
Kath Knight
Brockhole's Wetland Centre
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