Sitting on the edge of the River Bure, the building echoes the vertical structures that have long punctuated Norfolk’s landscape. Wind and water mills have a striking presence while also being working buildings. Like those structures the visitor's centre creates a memorable landmark and is carefully designed to provide facilities for raising awareness of the history and environment of the Broads.
By building a small tower most of the site is made available for landscape. Visitors explore a network of curving paths as they move towards the building in its prominent location by Acle Bridge. Planted reedbeds allow visitors to learn about the history of reed use in Norfolk, their support of bird habitats and use in water treatment. Meadow and wet woodland areas teach about plant species and their wildlife, while an outdoor classroom supports educational use.
Within the building, a café at ground level spills onto the riverfront, education is at first floor and exhibition at second floor. This level also provides a viewing platform, using the building’s height to enjoy the views. At the top rainwater is collected, stored and filtered for re-use: this is made visible, highlighting the vital role of water.