The Maples Restaurant
The National Arboretum had a very clear brief for their new restaurant – they wanted it to be light and welcoming and most importantly to blend into the surrounding environment – and what better way to do that than use their very own trees to create the frame.
The larch frame helps to create a light and relaxing space for the visitors to dig into some delicious cakes after a long walk through the woodland. The frame was made using a combination of a traditionally jointed larch brace truss, steel bracing and lots of glass, including a glazed lantern to create that spacious, contemporary feel. The unusual overhang on the eaves provides a pleasant covered area for eating alfresco with great views across the valley and arboretum. The building also incorporates a sedum room to help the restaurant blend seamlessly into the environment.
Today the restaurant provides for thousands of visitors all year round, particularly during the peak seasons during spring and autumn.
The Wolfson Tree Management Centre
The Tree Management Centre, a 35 x 20-metre building, was required to house large agricultural machinery. Timber was, of course, the obvious choice of building material for this RIBA award winning build.
One hundred and forty-year-old Corsican pine was used for the king post truss roof – felled, of course, at Westonbirt and partly hand hewn onsite as part of the Carpenters Fellowship program.
For the Machine Shed trusses, the intention was to use traditional connection forms where possible. However, due to the lightweight roof and large door openings, wind uplift loads on the roof would lead to a substantial reversal of loads, which many traditional forms of connection are not able to resist. Therefore many of the connections developed were a hybrid of traditional forms, reinforced through the use of steel plates, bolts and screws and designed to ensure that additional capacity and robustness were achieved. Where possible, traditional mortice and tenon connections were adopted.
In May 2017 the Centre was awarded three RIBA Awards: RIBA South West Award, RIBA South West Sustainability Award and RIBA South West Client of the Year.