The idea of a “hide” in the bird twitching world of the RSPB, does not necessarily mean that such a building should be hidden, camouflaged, or indeed anonymous, or architecturally insignificant. Members of the RSPB are conservative by nature and some are grumbling about their new building on Rainham Marshes.
Bird twitching hides, are traditionally insignificant draughty timber huts designed to avoid the attention of the wildlife, and the comfort of the bird twitcher can be a secondary consideration.
The building is raised high and pedestrian access is by way of ramps up to the higher level where draw bridges may be raised to keep out intruders; shutters are drawn to protect the triple glazing from likely missiles launched by vandals. It must have been an interesting brief, put to the architects Van Heyningen and Haward
The new hide is commendably nonconformist in every particular.
It is grandiose, as RSPB hides go, and architecturally ambitious, snug and comforting for the twitcher, and perversely obvious to the wildlife as if that ever really mattered, and also a thumb to the nose of miscreant youths from the nearby wild side of Thurrock sink housing estates
The peculiar requirements of the client have shaped the building but the building goes further than the obvious demands of Wildlife on the Wildside. The building is extraordinary in ecological terms, since it is self supporting, powered by solar panels, and the energy used is minimised by belt and braces insulation and automatic devices that control the flow of heat and ventilation, which they are calling a “ground source heat exchange system”. Self flushing loos are another proud boast.
The prominent towers are there to provide light and ventilate the building, but the resemblance to a pair of binoculars is inescapable.
. Shoestring Chronicle