31 October 2013

Animated 3D fly-through of The Sill is showcased

A stunning 3D fly-through featuring the innovative designs for Northumberland's planned new national Landscape Discovery Centre and YHA Youth Hostel, has been revealed for the first time, by award winning Newcastle architects Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall (JDDK).

At the most recent community event, members of the public were treated to a more in depth look at the latest design concepts for The Sill, the working title of the new £11.2m centre which is being steered by Northumberland National Park Authority and YHA (England and Wales).

These updated designs, refined after months of extensive consultation with the community, showcase a building that is both 'inspired by the landscape and of the landscape'; shaped to reflect the undulating contours of the Whin Sill landscape and Hadrian's Wall glacial lakes. The concepts incorporate a palette of materials that will continue this natural design, including dry stone walls, heather thatch and its standout feature, the UK's first 'green roof' created from Northumberland's rare Whin Sill grassland and the native plants found in Northumberland National Park – all of which was welcomed by the community.

Side elevation 

Stuart Evans, Project Director for The Sill at Northumberland National Park Authority, said: "The recent public event gave us a great opportunity to share with the community the latest plans for The Sill, which they have already played a vital role in shaping. The team at JDDK have created an inspirational design concept for Northumberland's new Landscape Discovery Centre, which has been brought to life by the exciting 3D footage and it was fantastic to see reactions to the animation.

"This is an exciting step forward for the project as we move into the next phase of the development and the project gathers pace; it was great to showcase how far we have come in the short space of time since we last met with the public.

"To date we talked to over 1,600 people about this proposal. We're now looking to the next key milestone and really want to get as many people as possible involved in our plans for the development of The Sill's activity programme. We've also got to raise the vital funds needed to make the project a reality and we really want to hear from anyone who is inspired by our vision to discuss how they can lend their support."  

At the event, The Sill project team gave an update on the pioneering move to create a standalone conservation project out of the 'green roof', which will form the centrepiece of the building, grown from a variety of rare native plant species from across the region. Plans to make the roof accessible to all, with visitors able to walk on it and flat access provided for wheelchairs and pushchairs, were welcomed by the public and the concepts received widespread praise. Alongside the building design, people were introduced to Bright 3D, the Edinburgh based team of interpretation designers appointed to work on the project, who revealed initial themes and visuals for the exhibition space at the centre. As the project moves forward, plans for the development of the extensive activity programme which will be run and promoted from the new discovery centre, were also presented, with people encouraged to get involved in the pilot scheme. The team and County Council are keen to also address current issues about highways safety along the busy Military Road.

The Sill roofscape 

Alison Thornton-Sykes, Principal Architect at JDDK, commented: "We have been working closely with the community and our partners to develop the design concepts for the new Landscape Discovery Centre further, whittled down to a preferred option, which we have taken forward. After an intensive process of refinement, it is very exciting to have been able to reveal the latest concepts.

"As part of our original design brief, we have incorporated learning facilities, a building integrating habitats, wildlife and people, as well as café, offices for local outdoor and recreational businesses and communal spaces and we are now working closely with the interpretation design team at Bright 3D as plans for the exhibition space are brought to life.

"It was great to take the designs back to the community and show them the animated fly-through for the first time. Seeing the footage offers a completely unique perspective on a design concept and gives it a real sense of reality; we're delighted with the feedback we have received."

To view the 3D footage, visit www.thesill.org.uk/design

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