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The Savill Building, Glenn Howells, gridshell roof, visitor center, windsor great park, sustainable wood

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 roofis 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