The aptly named Specere, which translated to ‘I am looking’, was created as a shelter for cyclists and as a viewpoint for visitors admiring the picturesque landscape across the Deadwater Fell. Built to offer protection from the elements, the shelter re-frames the dramatic landscape of the National Park. Commissioned by the Forestry Commission and the Kielder Partnership as part of an ongoing Art & Architecture programme, Adjaye Associates created a viewing platform with seating for 10 people, approximately 8.5 x 7m. Made of Douglas Fir, the shelter was designed as a series of individual portal frames that together provide structural stability. The timbers form a triangulated shape, which on the public’s approach from the north, is at its narrowest point. The entrance is on the North East side and is orientated in such a way that the scale of the shelter remains hidden from view until the visitor enters. Once inside, the pavilion widens dramatically to frame the views of the Bakethin Reservoir and surrounding hills.
The structural method allows the timbers to react to these specific site conditions. The slats are closely packed together on the southwest side to protect the public from the strong prevailing wind, while the northeast elevation has gaps between the timber slats to allow natural daylight into the structure. A portal frame structure has naturally created a large opening orientated to the south, to maximise the views.