Seaton Jurassic Visitor Centre, Devon

The Seaton Jurassic Visitor Centre is funded by East Devon District Council,
The Heritage Lottery Fund, the Coastal Community Fund, Devon County Council, Devon Wildlife Trust, Seaton Town Council, Garfield Weston, Fine Family Foundation, Seaton Visitor Centre Trust, Aggregate Industries, Lyme Bay Reserve and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Trust.

Seaton Jurassic Visitor Centre with VELFAC windows© Craig Auckland / Fotohaus

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A new landmark

It is owned by East Devon District Council and managed by the Devon Wildlife Trust and is a new landmark for the popular seaside town of Seaton and also a ‘gateway’ to the 96-mile long Jurassic Coast, England’s first Natural World Heritage Site.

VELFAC windows and doors are installed throughout the Centre which comprises a series of single storey, timber clad buildings (linked by glazed corridors) housing exciting interactive exhibitions. Visitors travel back in time to experience the story of life told through the exploration of the wildlife and geology of Seaton and the Jurassic Coast. There are also information points, a shop and café. The result is a unique visitor centre which can be used throughout the year, and which will also encourage more visitors to come to the area, thereby contributing to Seaton’s economic regeneration.

Demanding coastal location

The VELFAC system was specified at Seaton Jurassic for a number of reasons, explains Stephen Pring of architects Form Design Group: ‘Having installed VELFAC in high rise schemes in Plymouth we knew the system could cope with a demanding coastal location and that VELFAC 200 double-glazed units could deliver the weather performance required for a building sited only 500 yards from the sea. The excellent energy efficiency of the glazing also helped us achieve a BREEAM ‘very good’ rating.’

Clean lines and large expanses of glass

Architecturally, the VELFAC system plays an important role, adds Stephen: ‘VELFAC glazing delivers uniform sightlines across all units – fixed and closed – and we used this to emphasise and underpin an aesthetic focused on clean lines and large expanses of glass.’ The versatility of the VELFAC composite frame was also fully exploited: ‘We chose a grey finish for the external aluminium framing in order to complement the zinc roof, and to ensure the glazing remains consistent with other elements of the exterior design,’ explains Stephen. ‘Internally, we used a clear lacquer on the pine frames to enhance the warm and friendly atmosphere the Centre encourages, and to acknowledge the green credentials of the development as a whole.’

The Centre opened its doors in March 2016 and has already proved to be a great success, welcoming around 10,000 visitors before being formally opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal three weeks later.


Sector: Community / Leisure

Architect: FORM Design Group Architects

Specified for:

  • Extreme weather resistance
  • Uniform sightlines
  • Energy efficiency
  • Design versatility
  • Composite frame

© Craig Auckland / Fotohaus