BBM Architects were requested by Ashford Borough Council to take part in the design of an environment centre and proposals for ecological management of Community Woodland measuring in total 50 hectares.
The Community Woodland is situated within the Ashford urban fringe, The land is adjacent to proposed housing and a school to the north and east. Agricultural land and a disused landfill site to the south and west. Singleton Hill Field measures 14.7 hectares as a proportion of the total area, it will be managed by Ashford Borough Council.
A recent biodiversity analysis has been carried out which has led to a biodiversity strategy. BBM Architects intend to form a biodiversity framework that will guide the plans for the development centre and it’s integration into the Ashford Community Woodland and use by a wide proportion of the general public.
The landscape and centre will work together to provide an informative role that will encourage the public to learn through observation and experience while providing a safe space for relaxation and entertainment.
The intention is to provide a centre and environment that works with, but blurs the edge between, education, the arts and as an interface between urban life and ecology.
The principle is based on a number of overlapping design concepts:
1. The majority of visitors tend to congregate close to the car park and centre of the park, a smaller percentage will venture further afield. This provides security for the ecology by minimizing the human impact on fragile habitats.
The building will integrate with the landscape, inner to outer. It is BBM’s intention to merge sustainable construction with ecology, Arts, education and relaxation will be interchangeable.
Integration – Native woodland planting to the north of the site will integrate the over hanging timber frame structure. Bird hides will be constructed to examine habitats favoured by birds.
The Meadow and Drainage – The meadow is an area of grassland that will be encouraged to accept a local reptile population.
Reed Bed Sewage – Reed bed sewage will accept waste from the environment centre, a guided explanation of the process will be provided
Wildlife Pond – The wildlife pond will be constructed with an edge that will maximize the area of interface between land and water.
The Car Park – It is envisaged that as development of housing and the school proceeds, use of the car park may be reduced, initially however use of cars will form the major access to site.
Existing Hedge – An access path will follow the line of the hedge from the east of the building to the entrance.