DCM’s latest proposal for Stonehenge visitor centre

Oct 18, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Architect Denton Corker Marshall

The latest designs for the Stonehenge Visitor Centre have been released after English Heritage submitted a planning application to Wiltshire Council.

Denton Corker Marshall have been working on the project since they won the competition to design the new facility in February this year, after their first plans for the centre in 2007 were refused.

The revised plan sites the building 2.4km to the west of the stones, on the edge of the World Heritage Site, at a spot known as Airman’s Corner. The building will not be visible from the stones, and the road that currently runs alongside the site will be removed.

The centre will consist of two single-storey structures, one with a glass exterior and the other clad in timber. Both structures sit beneath a perforated roof supported by slim columns, and provide spaces for exhibitions, a café and shop. Visitors will then be transported to the stones by a transit system.

Stephen Quinlan, Director of Denton Corker Marshall in London, said the design would be sensitive to the surroundings. “Designing a visitor centre at a site of such importance is both a major challenge and a serious responsibility. Our proposal, above all, seeks not to compromise the solidity and timelessness of the stones, but to satisfy the brief with a design which is universally accessible, environmentally sensitive, and at the same time appears almost transitory in nature.

“If once back at home, a visitor can remember their visit to the stones but can’t remember the visitor centre they passed through on the way, we will be happy.”

Proposals for a new visitors centre first began back in 1986, and the stop-start project has been hindered by planning refusals and public enquiries.

The approved project will proceed with funding from English Heritage, Highways Agency, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Transport, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

*Images* courtesy English Heritage & DCM.

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