Steamboat Museum, Competition runner-up,
Windermere, Cumbria, 2011


The museum houses a collection of historic vessels from Thirteenth Century bog boats to record breaking speedboats located on the eastern shore of Lake Windermere in the English Lake District. The collection will rotate between being on display in the exhibition hall to use as pleasure trips on the lake or hours of conservation in the workshop. Four patinated copper roofs are arranged around a large courtyard enabling the movement of boats and people throughout the site. Suspended above ground and water they frame horizontal views between the tree canopy and the lake surface.

Roof volumes are formed from thin steel frame structures spanning across a number of concrete columns, containing vertical circulation and amenities. First floor walkways, humidity controlled galleries and restaurant are hung from the roof structure; boats pass underneath the suspended rooms across the water. Tall top lit main spaces permit the boats to rise and fall with the changing levels of the lake whilst allowing steam from the Victorian boats to dissipate.

Perforated copper cladding and willow screens cover the buildings, dappling sunlight onto buildings interiors and registering the reflection of light on the water below. A belvedere emerging just above the thick tree canopy is linked to the exhibition spaces and provides an extensive view of the full length of the lake.