Westonbirt Welcome Building
Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Glenn Howells Architects
BUILDING SERVICES ENGINEERS
E3 Consulting Engineers
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.
Clean visually and clean logically, the judges especially admired the structural efficiency and spatial flexibility of this building, which spring from a recognition of the benefit of using the inherent 3-D stiffness of the curved, diaphragm roof form to do the structural work, thus allowing a graceful and unencumbered roof space to be created. The rigorous, thoughtful attention to detail throughout comes as an additional bonus.