Visitor Centre, Walton-on-the-Naze

JGA+D was invited onto a tender shortlist of 4 to design and project manage a new £800,000 visitor centre for Essex Wildlife Trust at Walton-on-the-Naze, including a shop, visitor information, and education room.

Our approach was to locate and design the centre so as to minimize competition with the existing café and Naze tower shop, whilst providing greater facilities for the public and existing businesses alike. We questioned the need for a new-build centre, which would further ‘clutter’ the site and potentially take business from the neighbouring café and shop. Instead we proposed a ‘joined up’ approach – converting what was there, using existing infrastructure connections, and landscaping the site to form connections between the buildings.

2 planning strategies were proposed, on 2 different sites. Option 1 was titled ‘The Pillbox’ – a radical transformation of the existing 1960’s café building. Option 2 was titled ‘The Beach Huts’ – a completely new modular prefabricated structure located on the cliff edge.

We drafted in the support of a number of specialist consultancies for the pitch, and to complete our full-team approach, including Chris Brown Engineers, KJ Tait Environmental consultants, and McGregor Smith Landscape design.