Kosterhavet Visitors CentreEdit profile
The site at Koster Sea on the northern part of the west coast of Sweden, has been chosen for Sweden’s first Marine National Park. At its heart is a new visitor centre that exists in symbiosis with the sea and is completely self-sufficient in energy. The Kosterhavet Visitors Centre will be located on South Koster Island, an island protected for its unique archipelago, marine life, nature and cultural values. During peak summer months the area attracts thousands of visitors, while in quieter months the area is only inhabited by around 350 people. The visitors centre is expected to prolong the tourist season and provide new opportunities for business activities and jobs in the area. We won the competition for a new visitors centre with the proposal “Mareld` (translated as sea fire, or more accurately named marine bioluminescence). Mareld is the sea’s very own light and the building, opening itself out towards the water, is enriched with reflections on the surface of the water and creates the sea’s own light show, an artificial sea-fire. The visitors centre consists of three buildings, two of which sit in the water and seems to hover over the surface. The main buildings consist of a timber construction, all covered with glass to make it possible for observation of and close contact with marine life. The design highlights the natural sea-fire light phenomenon and emphasises conservation by creating an enclosed space that can be used by visitors all year round. The building sits on stainless steel piles, as the structure needed to be able to handle forces from corrosion, waves, flooding, ice, landslides and earth tremors. The exterior is being treated in a new and different way by creating the image of an archipelago house rather than designing yet another traditional one. By doing this, you can squeeze the essence from the building culture and simultaneously create something that can be anchored in the future. We see it as the grandchild of the old boathouses. The facade relates to the local tradition, and also forms a watertight “raincoat` that protects the construction and the visitors in all sorts of weather. If the exterior is a raincoat, the interior should feel like a warm fleece sweater, where tar-paper-clad, insulated volumes provide cosy comfort even when the rain beats down and the wind howls. Here you experience the variegated closeness that is characteristic of many fishing societies in Bohuslän. The sustainable impact analysis was essential and extensive, as there were many aspects that had to be taken into consideration. The area is protected by the EU Habitat directive (Natura 2000) and the surroundings have high cultural and archaeological value. The target was to create a visitors centre with high environmental profile and low use of energy. The building materials are primarily renewable and recyclable, and don’t contain any hazardous substances. The buildings contribute to zero CO2 emissions on a yearly basis as they are self-sufficient through the use of renewable energy; sun, water and wind. Crucial elements pertaining to its self-sufficiency include electricity that is produced from solar cells, heat that is generated from a sea water heating pump, desalinated drinking sea-water and a natural ventilation.