HERO Northumberlandia

Northumberlandia Visitor Centre

JDDK were appointed by The Land Trust to design a new Visitor Centre to provide a focus for visitors to the landform sculpture of a reclining lady—The Lady of the North near Cramlington, which is now known as “Northumberlandia”.

Designed as the first of a possible series of flexible buildings to site sensitively with woodland setting, the new single storey 74sqm visitor centre contains a small café, retail area and base for staff together with two accessible toilets and a decked courtyard area to one side for group gatherings.

The design concept has been inspired by the heritage of ancient Anglo Saxon settlements, the archaeological remains of which were discovered at the nearby Shotton surface mine.  The Anglo Saxon settlements were simple wooden structures aligned in the same orientation, so the concept was to replicate this with a series of rectangular buildings organised around courtyards filled with existing trees and ferns and linked by wooden walkways to provide a scheme that can be delivered in phases.  The centre sits within the existing woodland setting with minimal disturbance to the trees offering the visitor time to reflect and enjoy the peaceful environment.

Northumbrlandia was designed by world renowned artist Charles Jencks and constructed with over 1.5 million tonnes of rock, clay and soil at a cost of £3m.  Set within a 46 acre community park with free access, the visitor centre opened in March 2014 and the landform attracted over 100,000 visitors in its first year.