Keppie completes plaza cafe in Helix Park

Leading UK-based architectural practice Keppie Design has completed and handed over the plaza café building as part of the Helix Park project on behalf of Falkirk Community Trust.

The 110 sq m building provides facilities including an office for park rangers, and a café and toilets for visitors to Helix Park in Falkirk.

Helix Park is the first phase of the Helix, a £43m project to regenerate an area of industrial land between Falkirk and Grangemouth into a public space by Falkirk Council. The Park, which opened in September 2013, currently features a 200m wide lagoon, a great lawn – capable of hosting up to 12,000 people, and a splash play area. The Keppie-designed plaza café, which sits next to the lagoon, is due to open in May 2014.

Alan Seddon, associate at Keppie Design, said:

“Following discussions around the initial brief, our design solution consolidated the accommodation into a compact L-shaped plan, with an extended canopy providing shelter for visitors and storage for furniture after hours.

“We were interested in the idea of making a building which would serve purely as an accent to its setting, a bit like a folly in a classical landscape. The result is deliberately enigmatic: from a distance the cafe might be taken for a boat shed or simply a sculptural object reflected in the water of the lagoon. It invites enquiry and on closer inspection reveals its purpose. We are extremely pleased with the result and hope it enhances the experience of the visitors to the Park.”

Mike King from Falkirk Community Trust said:

“Keppie approached us with a design that responded elegantly to our brief but also opened our eyes to the huge potential that such a small pavilion could offer. Throughout the process Keppie proved adaptable, incorporating the changes that we needed to make the building work operationally, without compromising the concept that we originally bought into. We are delighted with the outcome.”

The plaza café is the first of three ‘wooden box’ buildings to be constructed in the Park.  The second will provide classrooms, changing rooms and viewing galleries and the third secure storage for boards, kayaks, paddles and safety equipment.