Carpenter Oak & Woodland wins Wood Awards 2012

Posted on: 28th November 2012

Following the shortlisting of two projects for the 2012 Wood Awards, the Stowe Visitor Centre wins the Commercial and Public Access category.

Following the shortlisting of our projects at Rosslyn Chapel and Stowe Landscape Gardens for the Wood Awards 2012 , we’re pleased to announce that the new visitor centre for the National Trust at Stowe Landscape Gardens has been awarded winner in the Commercial and Public Access category.

This is a highly unusual project in that it manages to combine restoration, reconstruction and new build in a single connected and unified group of buildings.

The construction of the new buildings in timber was inspired by the former use of the site as a farm populated by timber barns. The main space in the scheme, the restaurant, was designed as a modern reinterpretation of the fallen threshing barn. The triangulated ‘dia-grid’ roof structure is made of a series of linked timber triangles connected by stainless steel flitch plates and tie rods.The new timber buildings are built from both larch and green oak frames with oak cladding finishes.

Only sustainably sourced timbers were used, timber for the restaurant frame was cut from the National Trust’s nearby Ashridge forest. Larch was selected for the frame due to its durability and availability and air-dried prior to use. Timbers were then precision engineered to reduce on-site time and eliminate wastage. Oak framing was used to rebuild the range of outbuildings immediately behind the inn. The same traditional detailing of the original surviving timber frame was followed, including the eccentricity of varying shapes of the jowl posts and randomly spaced stud in the external walling. The only difference is that the new sections of frame external walling were increased in depth to allow good thermal insulation.

The project aimed for zero-carbon both in use and production, using materials of low embodied energy, high levels of thermal insulation and building air tightness, natural ventilation, and off-site prefabrication as well as on-site energy generation and waste treatment. The sourcing and durability of the materials used, potential for recycling, and distance to site were all considered within the design.

We are very pleased to have been part of this very special project, and our congratulations go to the architects Cowper Griffith for an imaginative and very successful project.

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For more information about this news story, please contact:

E-mail: Laura Martin

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