The Countryside and Community Department of Hampshire County Council commissioned the building as a base for sailing, canoeing, windsurfing and powerboat courses and to run courses in environmental studies for children and adults.
The outdoor activities and environmental studies centre overlooks Langstone harbour, on the coast of Portsea Island, Hampshire. The Countryside and Community Department of Hampshire County Council commissioned the building as a base for sailing, canoeing, windsurfing and powerboat courses and to run courses in environmental studies for children and adults.
The centre faces east on to the harbour; at its rear is a long, low rear wall overlaid by a gently curved roof sloping down to the west to shelter the site from prevailing winds. The roof rises up to the east, maximising the sea views and partly covering a continuous first floor balcony. To the north side of the building, linked to it by an open bridge deck, is a vertical tower.
It is designed to echo traditional coastal architecture and provide a prominent vantage point for the race office and management from which most of the estuary can be seen. The ground floor is elevated 900mm above its surroundings and gives on to a terrace to the east which overlooks the harbour and is bounded by a wave-form wall. The ground floor contains the entrance foyer and secretaries’ office (tucked into the bottom of the tower). On this floor there are also four changing rooms and service accommodation, the environment laboratory, the navigation classroom and at the south end, taking up two storeys, the boat repair shop.
The first floor contains staff accommodation, a further classroom and a large reception room. The centre’s management office is located, in the upper level of the tower, from which events on the water can be supervised and a watch kept on the whole of the harbour.