The low-lying Savill Building serves as a curvy and welcoming gateway to The Royal Landscape of Windsor Great Park. Its low profile and curvaceous roof are reminiscent of a giant leaf, and it was designed to nestle into the ground to assist in solar passive design without interrupting the tree line. The "gridshell’ roof is constructed from larch and clad with green oak sourced locally from The Crown Estate’s own sustainable Windsor Estate sources. With a large free spanning roof, the visitor center, which was designed by Glenn Howell, has a wide range of flexibility for indoor activities and offers beautiful views to the surrounding gardens.
Located in a corner of Windsor Great Park, the Savill Gardens are a popular tourist attraction and one of Britain’s greatest ornamental gardens. The Savill Building serves as the visitor center and gateway to the gardens housing admissions, a restaurant, a large gift and a plant shop. Most notably, the building features a large wooden roof that provides an open space 100 meters long and 10 meters high under a central dome. The gridshell roof is supported by a steel beam running around the perimeter, held up on the garden side by angled steel legs. A grid of larch using over 20 kilometres of timber, felled from sustainable forests on the estate, was used to create the structure of the roof. The structural layer is then covered in aluminum, insulation and finally an oak rainscreen to shed water.
Nestled into a hill on the north side, the building’s temperature is moderated by the earth and partially covered with a green roof, while the south side enjoys a large curved curtain to take in the views and the sun. Passive solar design assists the building to regulate temperatures and solar heat gain. Glenn Howell collaborated with Buro Happold, Robert Haskins Waters Engineers, The Green Oak Carpentry Company and Inwood Developments to design and construct the building and its amazing and beautiful roof.
Images ©Glenn Howell and The Royal Landscape