Rewilding Sizewell Nuclear Power Station

Originally published at:

Sizewell Nuclear Power Station is located within an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ in Suffolk, UK. There are 3 reactors - “A” has been decommissioned, “B” is operational and “C” is currently planned for the future. I propose to convert all buildings and site into a series of spaces where visitors can learn about rewilding and explore the importance of maintaining Biodiversity on our small planet.

My first challenge will be to find suitable drawings and information about the existing buildings (not an easy task for active power stations) so I can begin the design and modelling work.

I’m intending to explore how far timber can be pushed as a building material when constructing large scale spaces.

I have never used the Substance suite and look forward to seeing what tools are available to help me design both procedural and ‘painted’ materials.

I’m not sure which section I will enter – I’m keen to see how far a real-time engine could be pushed and how it might work with Substance, but then that would require learning two applications and is probably asking for trouble given the time available!


Super cool subject matter @Flowstorm

Welcome to CONVERTED and best of luck to you :wink:


Good choice!
best of luck

Concept Development

During this stage I am researching some key topics that will help inform the design of the buildings,their uses and the layout of the wider site.

At this point these include:

Rewilding processes/methods and the importance of large herbivores.

De-extinction – this was a new subject to me until last year and makes for interesting reading.

Large scale timber architecture.

Interior public spaces.

Scientific research buildings.

I’m aware however that I could spend way too long doing reading so will be setting myself a deadline and documenting this stage as far as possible visually, using Pinterest to help build a moodboard of images.

I find keeping the creative process as visual as possible helps to prevent getting bogged down.

I’ve set up a public board on Pinterest called “Rewilding Sizewell Nuclear Power Station” which

I’ll be adding to in the next few days.

From those I’ll then do some initial drawings and post on here within a week fingers crossed!

I’ve managed to find some information and drawings about the existing layout of Sizewell B which is where I think most of the conversion will happen, but I still have more work to do on that front.

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Very interesting subject, and a noble cause.

I wonder if there are any issues with occupying the decommissioned reactor spaces such as trace levels of radio-activity.

In any case, the environmental rehabilitation will be interesting to see,

Good luck

Hi Atash,

Thanks for your interest and raising that point - from what I’ve read, the process of decommissioning a nuclear facility of any kind should result in no radioactive danger persisting once completed.
At least in the UK there are strict processes to follow and various regulators - including the ONR, the NDA and the Environment Agency.

I also considered this issue at the start of the project and reasoned that if it was safe to opperate 24/7 for many years and work there as an engineer or whatever, then surely after decommisioning it would be even safer.

Personally I’d rather more investment was made into renewable power generation - than into building more Nuclear power stations…which has informed the brief I set myself…but as this is a viz competition I’m trying (!) to focus on the creative opportunities and not get too focussed on practicalities - I do that in the day job!

Good luck to you too

I’d say that is very much ok!

Looking forward seeing some sketches from you :wink:

Research and initial drawings 01

Here are some pencil thumbnail drawings that I made to help me visualise the images I plan to produce.

Firstly I made a very basic massing model of the key buildings on the site (after digging deep to find information online about their sizes). I plan to add detail to these models based on a few photos I’ve found showing the exterior of the buildings.

In parallel I’ve also been researching Nuclear power generation and the kit used to do that – shown in the other pencil drawings. Also been building my Pinterest board mentioned previously.

After the site is decommissioned my plan is to rewild the area and “allow nature to take control”. This will involve building a lake and adding the right balance of large herbivores, which then over time drive the regrowth of the landscape.

I will build a series of hides located within the new park and amongst the existing buildings/on rooftops that allow visitors to observe the animals and park.


Site buildings so far…


Looks like there are a lot technicalities to consider. Also, I did not realize there are so many other buildings! I am curious what Sir David Attenborough would say to this unique proposal since he is a big proponent in preserving biodiversity in our ecosystem.

Your sketches almost look like storyboard for a documentary/short film :eyes: Let’s keep the ball rolling!

Large scale project-very ambitious!

I’m also new to Substance-well, new to archviz in fact-so big challenges all round.

Good luck with your project.

a very interesting project and especially the concept that you want to implement in it

Thanks @simplychen - yes there are lots of technicalities to consider - I’m aware of what some of those buildings are for but not all yet - there is a fuel store, a spent fuel (!) store, nuclear waste :frowning: …also “sizewell A” which has already been decomissioned had its own set of support buildings.
The thumbnails were created after setting up some intial cameras in MAX - I sat at my pc desk and doodled those whilst refering to the perspective viewport - and imagined what could be there.
They could be a storyboard :wink: … thanks again for showing your interest!

Thanks @BNARob Ben, I’m not planning on completely designing all those buildings (and I don’t feel the need to ‘fill’ them all with specific functions) - that would be waay too much to do, but I have plans for the turbine hall and 1 of the support buildings, along with a ‘Park’ which I’m adding some hides to. Good luck to you too, looking forward to seeing your project evolve :slight_smile:

Thanks @Alexander …keeping my fingers crossed I can create some nice artwork out of it :slight_smile:

Collage 01
Since my last post, I’ve been exploring working with collage - old school black & white prints with glue.
I started with the site plan, then considered one of the elevations, then some spaces.
I like to combine reference images in this way and try to create scenes direct from imagination. You often get ideas you would never have considered by drawing alone.
In these initial attempts I’m evolving the architecture, form and material palette for some of the hides and interior spaces.
Next I’m going to work on the turbine hall.


reminds me of the days of studio where we have to make models. did i mention i usually end up with superglue on my fingers and this is giving me a weird flashback?

jokes aside, each structure seems to be an open canvas for you to ‘paint’ on almost. since the existing facades are probably dull and strictly industrial, I see opportunity (it appears you’ve taken that route) to introduce mix of materiality and finishes that complements the design motif. Are the material palette from the collage from existing structure, by chance? Or are they a mix match of whatever you find complementary from structures out in the world?


Appologies for the very slow reply @simplychen
You’re right, the existing buildings are very industrial with quite dull facades. I’ve managed to track down some good aerial photos which I’ve been using the model the existing buildings - currently low detail, but will add detail as the views require!

The collage elements are mostly from the Pinterest board - and the sites that those images lead to.
I generally cut the printed images up and see what inspires me.
Often the elements are reversed, used upside down, rotated - I’ll use interesting shapes and junctions of things to try and create a form.
Not always architectual elements - there are all sorts of odd things in those first collages.

Now I’m battling with the next stage - turning those early ideas into built models!

I love your process!

Looking forward to seeing how this takes shape in 3d :wink:

Thanks @ronen !
Hoping to post some updates soon :smile: