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Black Forest National Park Visitor Centre

Seebach, DE

The sensory connection of people and nature lies at the heart of the design for the Black Forest National Park Visitor Centre. The forest is the leading theme for a sensory experience, the specific perception of which is supported by the architecture. The visitor centre is a vertical stand-alone structure surrounded by trees. The rectangular floors on its seven storeys are all used for visitor centre purposes. In addition to 3,800 m² of exhibition space, the compact building houses rooms for presentations and film screenings, catering and administration. Wood grain, which can be seen like a finger print on the concrete façade of the building, defines its appearance. With deep incisions and openings, the concrete monolith becomes an abstract sculpture which stands in contrast to its green surroundings, while still entering a dialogue with nature. A tree-top path leads from the higher-level car park through to the foyer on the second floor of the exhibition building. The path takes the form of a nature trail so that visitors can become familiar with the subject. From the entrance area, the visitor’s gaze is directed through two large windows framed in wood towards the surrounding forest. The rooms transition smoothly into the temporary exhibition area and the cinema hall. The permanent exhibition on the upper floors terminates with a peaceful space that focuses the visitor’s attention on experiencing nature. The exhibition concept provides background information and details of research on forests. It displays them in virtual and real, digital and emotive presentational environments. Windows along the external walls produce an effect like large display windows, creating a connection with nature and directing attention towards the forest. Climate and background noise are set centre stage on a continuous terrace on the third floor.

Süss Beratende Ingenieure, merz kley partner, Nowak Landschaftsarchitekten
Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg Pfortzheim
Competition
Honorable mention
2015