Rossall Point Observatory, Fleetwood

Observation tower on the seafront at Rossall Point near Fleetwood in Lancashire.

This project was part of the wider “Sea Change” project set up by Wyre Council, funded by a national grant together with a substantial private donation. The brief was to form an iconic symbol for this significant point on the coast and to provide a beacon for tourism, leisure and education as well as a permanent home for the National Coastwatch Institute (NCI) station. Built within the sand dunes, the building is adjacent to both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Biological Heritage Site (BHS).

Responding to the site conditions has not only driven the building form, but has influenced the materiality and the textures within the building. The first axis referenced was the line of the existing timber groynes, one of which is directly adjacent to the site. Delineating the north line allows the visitor to realise their place on the peninsular – a key navigation reference. The optimal coastal viewing line was the final reference, along which the birdwatchers and the volunteer coastguard will spend most of their time physically orientated.