Green light for HAB’s cabin design for Avon Wildlife Trust's new reserve

Monday 19th January 2015

HAB Housing volunteer cabin design for Avon Wildlife TrustHAB Housing volunteer cabin design for Avon Wildlife Trust

HAB Housing is delighted that planning permission has been received for a special partnership project with Avon Wildlife Trust.

It will shortly begin work on the unique building – a cabin for volunteers and events at Avon Wildlife Trust’s newest nature reserve in the Avon Gorge, Bennett's Patch and White's Paddock. The cabin will be finished prior to the reserve opening this spring, as part of Bristol’s year as European Green Capital.

Kevin McCloud, founder and director at HAB said, “At HAB we focus on the spaces in-between buildings as much as the architecture itself. We like to weave green spaces that provide rich habitats for human beings and wildlife alike. What we love about this project is that it's all about the outdoors – the building is simply a means to allow people to care for and enjoy the ecology of the place. 

Collaborating with Avon Wildlife Trust on this project has been a great way to kick off an important year for Bristol - as European Green Capital 2015."

The 10x3m building has been designed by Hugh Strange Architects. The simple structure takes an ‘off the shelf’ agricultural building and enhances it with cladding, glazing and a canopy made from sustainable timber drawn from another Avon Wildlife Trust reserve, Prior's Wood. It will provide toilets, and a semi-seasonal shelter for volunteers and events at the new reserve and will be used as a classroom. Mindful of the need to cater for wildlife as well as human visitors on site, it will have a ‘bat hotel’ integrated into the canopy and ‘bee corridors’ will be planted across its concrete substructure.

Hugh Strange, of Hugh Strange Architects said, “The building is designed to focus people’s attention on the amazing landscape of the surrounding area. But as well as appreciating the grand scale of the Gorge, visitors’ attention will also be directed towards the intimate scale of the cabin’s structure, where bats will be encouraged to nest in the soffit of the timber canopy. It is very much a building through which to enjoy and learn about nature.”

Avon Wildlife Trust plans to use Bennett's Patch and White's Paddock to encourage people from across the city, and beyond, to do something amazing for wildlife in their own community. As part of their new campaign, My Wild City, The Trust's vision is to transform Bristol into a nature rich city by connecting gardens and green spaces, attracting wildlife right up to our doorsteps.

Bevis Watts, Chief Executive of the Avon Wildlife Trust, said, “It has been fantastic to have HAB Housing on board, working with them has ensured the needs of both people and wildlife are central to the design of our new cabin for volunteers and events. Bennett's Patch and White’s Paddock provides a step change opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of creating and restoring homes for wildlife. This building will be key to engaging people - by giving them a hands-on role in shaping this new urban nature reserve we hope they will be inspired to take action for wildlife in their own community.