Marcon awarded fit-out of UK’s first National Landscape Discovery Centre

Museum and heritage specialist Marcon has been appointed to carry out the fit-out of The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre in Northumberland

Due to open this summer, The Sill is an architecturally stunning building that will transform how people of all ages understand and explore landscapes, history, culture and heritage.

Situated in the Hadrian’s Wall area of Northumberland National Park, the £14.8m visitor centre and youth hostel is the creation of Northumberland National Park, YHA and has been supported by National Lottery players through a £7.8m HLF grant.

The Sill promises to be a unique visitor attraction and is designed to enable the landscapes of Northumberland National Park and surrounding Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to be opened up to even more people, including children, families, older people, disabled people and those who are less confident exploring natural places. The eagerly awaited centre is considered to be one of the UK’s most significant museum projects of 2017.

Marcon will fit-out a series of designated spaces within the building namely the welcome lobby, visitor information, temporary exhibition and the main interpretive exhibition. Each of these spaces hosts a range of audio visual displays, graphics and interactive programmes.

Key to the delivery of this project will be Marcon’s specialist joinery workshop. The company’s skilled craftsmen will manufacture and install all of the bespoke items which include; fitted furniture, interactive plinths, exhibition display structures, retail displays and feature wall panelling.

“The Sill is one of the most talked about schemes in the North East region for decades and will be a wonderful attraction for visitors to the area, inspiring people to celebrate, value and conserve Northumberland’s unique natural and cultural features,” said Mark O’Connor, Director, Marcon. “Our dedicated heritage team is looking forward to playing an important role in the completion of this high profile project. To be fitting out the interior of the UK’s first National Landscape Discovery Centre is another exciting challenge for the company.”

A key part of the experience at The Sill will be the exhibition and interpretation areas to educate and engage audiences in a conversation about our shared landscapes. Edinburgh based interpretive designers Bright have employed Marcon to help turn the vision for the centre into reality.

“We have been working with the team at The Sill for a number of years through the funding and design stages of the development,” said Harry Fisher, Projects Director at Bright. “To complete the project successfully requires companies who are experienced in installing high profile projects to the highest standards. We know that Marcon have the experience, drive and enthusiasm needed to ensure the successful delivery of this nationally significant flagship project.”

Tony Gates, Chief Executive of Northumberland National Park Authority, said the striking design of the iconic new building will harmoniously reflect the distinctiveness of the Northumbrian landscape in both its shape and the materials used in its construction and fit-out. The centrepiece will be a Whin Sill grass roof, planted to replicate the unique natural grasslands of the surrounding area. The Sill’s fully accessible living roof will sweep gently upwards, giving visitors a bird’s eye vantage point across one of the UK’s most magnificent landscapes and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall.

“The innovative approach in the building design is reflected in the innovative approach we have to the fit out and in particular the permanent exhibition. It is an exhibition like no one will have experienced before and we hope it will ignite the curiosity of those who experience it to explore the landscape for themselves and to create a lifelong relationship with the countryside,” said Gates. “The Sill is a once in a lifetime opportunity to turn a national spotlight onto the vital importance of landscape to the nation’s health, wealth and well-being; to stimulate and nurture the next generation of landscape enthusiasts; to open up access to the countryside to everyone; and to ensure that these last wild places – and the communities within them – continue to thrive.”

Over the past few years Marcon has been responsible for the fit-out of a number of iconic, culturally significant museums and exhibitions, namely the American Air Museum at IWM Duxford; UNESCO World Heritage Site Cromford Mills; Hastings Pier; Titanic Belfast®; Pearse Cottage, Ros Muc, Connemara and Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy.