Helix Park takes shape with cafe completion
January 24 2014
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.
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