One of the world's most famous prehistoric monuments was just honored with a sleek and sustainable new visitor center. International design practice Denton Corker Marshall, which led the renovation of Stonehenge's $44 million visitor center, rerouted roads and relocated the center to bring a more authentic and "dignified setting" to the ancient stone circle. The modern and environmentally friendly upgrade will better accommodate the more than one million tourists who visit every year.
Located 1.5 miles west of Stonehenge, the new visitor center is comprised of three separate buildings—or “pods”—each designed with energy saving strategies and locally harvested and renewable materials. Built as a “prelude to the Stones,” the placement and design of the visitor center strengthens the dramatic approach to Stonehenge while keeping a sustainable, low profile on the landscape.
In addition to a new exhibition on the forensic reconstruction of an early Neolithic man, the three pods also includes museum displays with 250 prehistoric objects, a cafe, retail, and other service facilities. Each pod was built using a lightweight and sustainable materials palette including locally grown sweet chestnut timber cladding and Salisbury limestone. An undulating steel roof canopy rests above 211 irregularly placed sloping columns, with a shape that mirrors the surrounding hilly landscape.
Constructed to “sit lightly in the landscape,” the lightweight building was designed with minimal foundation depths for easy removal if necessary. To avoid the use of fossil fuels and to minimize waste, “gray water” and collected rainwater will be reused for non-potable uses such as irrigation and toilet flushing. An open loop ground source heating system pumps underground water through a unit to alternatively cool or produce heat energy.
Via ing media
Images via Peter Cook