World Nature Heritage Mudflats Visitor Information Center/text


Location: Wilhelmshaven
Competition: 1. Prize 2008
Client: GGS – Grundstück und Gebäude der Stadt Wilhelmshaven
Construction Period: 2010–2011
Work Phases: 1–9

Conversion and Extension of the UNESCO World Nature Heritage Mudflats Visitor Information Center in Wilhelmshaven, Germany

By converting the Wadden Sea House in Wilhelmshaven into a Visitor Information Center for the UNESCO World Nature Heritage, the building received a significantly new appearance.

An image of the mudflats adorns the cladding of the new, mounted façade above the main entrance. The steel construction weighs eight tons and is positioned at the north-east building corner, presenting an exciting marking within the urban space. The interplay of light and color within the metal framing and the building skin above ensures a high level of vividness and quality. Illuminated by night, the prominent image of the mudflats brings a distinctive identity to the building.

The forecourt, functioning as a stage for visitors and temporary installations, was freed from any small-scale components, plants, and car park markings. A newly constructed stairway and an ascending square paved with uniform plaster enable a barrier-free access into the Center.

The new pedestrian bridge connects the entrance to the beach front. At the end of the bridge, an information pavilion adopts the pattern of the new façade and spatially unites the two elements.

In the first floor of the Information Center, a large gallery was integrated into the museum space presenting an exciting start for the visitors coming from the beach front. A staircase leads past an impressive whale skeleton down to a small café, which is then connected to the extended foyer. The entire entrance area as well as the exhibition itself was reconstructed, now presenting a new, clear space. A central reception counter, a cash desk and a museum shop welcome the visitors inside the Center.

The UNESCO World Heritage Visitor Information Center is the main educational and informational center for the Wadden Sea National Park in Lower Saxony. It aims at supporting the protection objectives of the park, informing about the park, its goals and giving visitors an overview of the ecological unique habitat. The Wadden Sea in Germany is unique in its expanse, spreading an area of 10.000 square kilometers and thus presenting a habitat for a broad variety of beings.