Visitors Center Vattenriket

Type of project: Invited competition, second place. The competition was carried out in cooperation with the architectural office ’Happy Space’.
Location: A rich, swampy march landscape by Helge River, just outside the city walls of Kristianstad.
Type of building: This kind of visitors center is in Sweden called “Naturum” and is a patented name used by the Swedish Enviromental Protection Agency. A ’Naturum’ can be described as a cross between a visitors centre and a nature museum. Included in the competition was a bridge leading to the building.
Size of building: 900 sqm

The town of Kristianstad has a long history of flooding. To protect the town from its hostile surroundings, it has been enclosed by a sturdy city wall. Today, much construction is taking place outside the original city walls. Therefore, one of the main objectives of the exhibition in the building is to replace the idea of the wetlands as an enemy with the understanding of what a biologically rich and fantastic ecosystem it is, in need of our attention and protection.

We divided the project into two parts. The bridge leading to the building presents the visitor to the area as it rises to give an overview, and then descends to enable a close encounter on floating platforms. The building, on the other hand, has to withstand floods and is, therefore, elevated 3.5 metres above normal water level, keeping it clear during even the worst of global warming scenarios. The idea of the building as an elevated outpost, cut loose from its surroundings, led to its simple geometric shape. The facade is a reference to the reeds in which it is placed, and creates a transparent shield between the sensitive birdlife and the exhibition rooms inside. The roof forms an open platform from which one can watch migrating birds pass by.


This competition was made during our ’Arkitektstudio WRB’ era.