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Helix Park takes shape with cafe completion

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January 24 2014

Helix Park takes shape with cafe completion
Work to deliver a raft of new visitor facilities at the Helix Park, Falkirk, is proceeding apace with completion of a new 110sq/m café by Keppie Design on behalf of Falkirk Community Trust.

The café is one of three ‘wooden boxes’ planned for the southern end of the  £43m public space, the others offering classrooms and a viewing gallery alongside storage solutions for canal equipment. These will sit alongside a new visitor centre to the north of the 350ha site, by the North Lock of the Forth and Clyde Canal, which is set to complete within months.

Designed by Oliver Chapman Architects and David Narro Associates the sister scheme is subject to a tight five month design and build programme – made possible through the use of an off-site prefabricated solution which had already been developed by Scottish Canals.

South facing to maximise solar gain the centre is composed of a series of charred larch cubic forms, each of which houses a specific usage. This faces onto a new landscaped public space conceived by Ironside Farrar, which affords views across to The Kelpies sculpture.

Alan Seddon, associate at Keppie Design, said of the cafe: “We were interested in the idea of making a building which would serve purely as an accent to its setting, a bit like a folly in a classical landscape.  The result is deliberately enigmatic: from a distance the cafe might be taken for a boat shed or simply a sculptural object reflected in the water of the lagoon.  It invites enquiry and on closer inspection reveals its purpose.”

Both schemes have been designed in tandem with Nicoll Russell Studio’s Kelpies visitor centre, for which Scottish Government funding has just been secured.
A series of chamfered cubic volumes create a varied roofscape to the visitor centre
A series of chamfered cubic volumes create a varied roofscape to the visitor centre

1 Comment

Ross Hendry
#1 Posted by Ross Hendry on 27 Jan 2014 at 13:44 PM
I'm delighted to say this is right on our doorstep and is already an amazing facility. Recently, in a brief gap in the chilly wet weather, we thought we would go for wee walk to blow the cobwebs away - thinking we'd have place to ourselves - and it was jumping! What will it be like when it's finished!

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