Westonbirt Welcome Building

Structural Designer

BuroHappold Engineering

Client Name

Forestry Commission


Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Glenn Howells Architects
E3 Consulting Engineers
PMP Consultants


Westonbirt is home to the National Arboretum in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. The new Welcome Building is located in a natural dip and placed on a semi-circular grid to integrate it into the landscape, providing a point of entry to the Arboretum, and a number of essential visitor facilities. The building frame is constructed from environmentally-friendly, UK-sourced, Green Douglas Fir timber. Its gently curving structure gives the traditional pitched roof form a modern twist, while the Western Red Cedar used for the external cladding lends the building an attractive appearance and continues the theme of timber construction.

Judge's comment:

This beautifully designed building welcomes visitors to the National Arboretum at Tetbury.  Appropriately, the building is made almost entirely of wood, with timber frames of UK-grown Douglas Fir.  There are no eaves ties, giving an elegant clear height space up to the ridge.  The sarking boarding acts as a diaphragm to transfer lateral loads to the end walls and to intermediate frames. The judges thought this was an excellent example of the integration of structure and architecture.

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