14.8.2008

Bat House

This proposal aims to: - provide a wide variety of bat roosting conditions and the ability to monitor the inhabitants. - allow visitors to engage directly with bats in a single structure. - make an integrated addition to the network of existing facilities available at the London Wetland Centre.

Occupants: Bats
The bat chambers are arranged vertically in the stack. They vary in size, orientation and climate. The intention is that the accommodation provides differing habitats to accommodate maternity, mating and feeding roosts. This also enables a certain degree of experimentation and investigation as to favoured roosting conditions.
The cellar chamber is intended as a hibernation chamber and is orientated towards the north west, accessed by bats from the lagoon side. The floor of this chamber lies partially under water. A number of the upper chambers have a rainwater supply which is channelled via cavities in the wall construction.
Variation in wall thickness and proportions provide a wide range of thermal and moisture conditions.

Occupants: Human

The public path passes directly through and around the ground level of the stack. This level is permanently accessible and also houses an exhibition and observation room. A door (which can be periodically locked) provides access to a meandering staircase. This is a residual space rising around and between the bat chambers. Incidental views to the lagoon, over the Thames to Fulham, and finally a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape can be glimpsed while ascending the staircase.
The thick masonry walls ensure the bats are isolated from human activity. Panels in the walls of the bat chambers facilitate visual maintenance and observation. Remote observation is also possible by means of an internet camera link and sonar bat detectors. These are powered by a solar cell incorporated in the upper surface of the stack and monitored in the ground level observation room.

Construction
The stack is a monolithic form, constructed in mortar-jointed load bearing stone. A variety of jointing techniques, ranging from deep-set to flush enable various surface textures within the bat chambers to be achieved.

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