Driving force in the development of the area is the water management. Fen is primarily dependent on constant upward groundwater flows fed by infiltration from higher grounds. Bog is primarily depending on retention of rainwater and natural acidification within broader areas of fenland. Mere and reedland serve as a collecting system with more dynamics both in level, waves and flow. Due to the fragmented regeneration of the area, the natural groundwater situation will be restored in steps and will only be fully accomplished in the final phase. Therefore, the natural vegetation zones will shift accordingly in time.
The experience of the landscape is mediated by three pathways: fen trail, mere trail and bog trail. Attached to these paths are a series of information and recreation infrastructures as well as cultural artifacts. At some point, these three pathways converge and encircle the four key vegetation types at close proximity with each other, forming ‘landscape pockets’ which render legible the key features of the fen landscape. This junction of pathways is roofed, marking the location of the visitor center by a primordial act of sheltering a space of encounter. The building volume follows the bifurcating geometry, accommodating various programmatic components in differentiated spatial zones. At the building’s center, where landscapes from either building side nearly touch, are the main entrance and exhibition space (passive climate) located – an ambiguous space between building and landscape interior.
The curved roofs are materialized by reed thatched surfaces and possess a strong physical presence that emphasizes the environment-specific nature of the visitor center. By contrast, the facades are to a great extent dematerialized; consisting of a rhythmic timber structure and glazing panels – articulating visual continuity of the horizontal landscape across the building under a seemingly floating, weighty roof.