Stonehenge Visitor Centre
Jacobs (formerly Sinclair Knight Merz)
Amesbury, United Kingdom
Images: © Jacobs / Peter Cook, courtesy of Denton Corker Marshal / James O. Davies, courtesy of English Heritage
Stonehenge is the most renowned World Heritage site in the UK. Its new Visitor Centre comprises an undulating steel roof oversailing two rectangular pods. The undulating roof reflects the rolling landscape of Salisbury Plain; it is supported on raking columns with axes that mirror the departures from verticality of the stones themselves. One pod, in glass and steel, houses the café, shop and education centre; the other, constructed of timber, houses the interpretation and exhibition space. The entire construction, including foundations, is designed for complete removal at the end of its life, without damage to any underlying archaeology.
The judges were impressed by the way in which traditional construction technology of steel grillages and plywood decking had been used to create the unusual, attractive, slender, undulating roof, working with the fabricator to simplify construction. They also commended the achievement of a ‘light touch’ on this important archaeological site. The use of a foundation slab that floats on fill will enable the entire construction to be removed, without trace, at the end of its life.