Stonehenge Visitor Centre Design, English Heritage Facilities, Wiltshire Rural Building Project News

Stonehenge Visitor Facilities, England

English Heritage Development design by Denton Corker Marshall architects, UK

11 Nov 2014

Stonehenge visitor Centre awarded AIA Jørn Utzon Award

Stonehenge Visitor Centre
photo : James Davies

New Visitor Centre at Stonehenge

Stonehenge Exhibition + Visitor Centre has been awarded the prestigious Jørn Utzon Award for International Architecture at the 2014 Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) National Awards.

“This is a masterful work of architecture, both timeless and poetic. It sits with authority in the historic landscape, with facilities that help develop a better understanding of Stonehenge and its place in world history.”
AIA Awards Jury

12 Jul 2012

New Visitor Centre at Stonehenge, England

Stonehenge visitor centre building starts on site

A £27m project at Stonehenge to build a new visitor centre and close the road alongside the monument has begun, reports the BBC.

The centre will replace existing poor quality buildings that are frankly an embarrassment. This progress will be a relief to the entire design team as this project has dragged on for years with many architects involved. After the closure of the A344, a shuttle service taking visitors to and from the stones will start.

Close up of the new proposed Stonehenge Visitor Centre – computer-generated image
Stonehenge Visitor Facilities
Stonehenge Visitor Centre image from architects

The existing car and coach park next to Stonehenge will also be removed. This world-famous monument can then connect with its ancient processional approach

English Heritage said the project would restore the dignity of the stones’ setting. This World Heritage site receives more than one million visitors a year.

11 Apr 2011

Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Stonehenge visitor centre on course to start 2012

Two important funding measures announced by the UK government could see construction of Stonehenge’s new visitor centre begin next year.

English Heritage, which oversees the management and conservation of Stonehenge, will be permitted to access £2 million of philanthropic reserves for the project, designed by Denton Corker Marshall.

The new proposed Stonehenge Visitor Centre – computer-generated image (Stonehenge is 1.5 miles to the east, on the right and out of view)
Stonehenge Visitor Centre Building

The new proposed Stonehenge Visitor Centre – computer-generated image
Stonehenge Visitor Facilities

A further £3.5 million from the Department of Transport has been committed for roadworks at two key junctions, subject to the completion of statutory processes.

The £27 million project has secured backing from a mix of private philanthropy, grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and commercial funding, with £3 million still to be raised.

Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage said:
“These are crucial steps which bring closer the transformation of the currently blighted Stonehenge landscape. We are grateful to the government for their forthright support for this important project particularly at a time when money is so tight. We now need to secure the last permissions and raise the final elements of funding. I am confident that we will be able to do both in time to start work next year.”

Denton Corker Marshall’s scheme for Stonehenge was granted planning approval in February 2010. The scheme will see the existing visitor centre and car parking removed, and a new centre with exhibition and education facilities built at Airman’s Corner – about 1.5 miles (2.5km) west of the Stones. A low-energy transit system will take people between the visitor centre and a drop-off close to the monument.

An animation showing the proposal can be viewed on the English Heritage website.

Stonehenge Visitor Centre images / information from English Heritage

17 Mar 2011

Stonehenge Visitor Centre Building

English Heritage advise that construction work on Stonehenge Visitor Centre is likely to start on site in Spring 2012. The architects are Denton Corker Marshall, headquartered in Australia.

22 Nov 2010

Boost to Stonehenge visitor centre

The future of a new visitor centre for Stonehenge designed by Denton Corker Marshall is looking more certain, with the UK’s Heritage Lottery Fund pledging an extra £10 million to the project.

The project went on hold earlier this year following the UK government’s withdrawal of financial support as part of a series of spending cuts. The HLF’s pledge of £10 million matches the amount withdrawn and effectively doubles the fund’s initial commitment.

English Heritage, which oversees the management and conservation of Stonehenge on behalf of the UK government, continued to pursue funding alternatives and has now secured two-thirds of the £27 million project.

Denton Corker Marshall’s scheme for the new visitor centre and other improvements was granted planning approval in February 2010.  The scheme will see the existing visitor centre and car parking removed, and a modest centre with exhibition and education facilities built at Airman’s Corner – about 1.5 miles (2.5km) west of the Stones.  A low-key transit system between the new visitor centre and a drop-off close to the monument is proposed.

“It’s a good scheme and we are pleased English Heritage took on the challenge to raise money and bring the project to fruition,” said Denton Corker Marshall director Stephen Quinlan.

Excerpt from the HLF’s Stonehenge Visitor Centre statement:
HLF’s grant will support work to remove the existing visitor facilities allowing the experience of the stones to be more naturally integrated with its ancient processional approach and the surrounding landscape. These much-needed wider improvements will give people the chance to explore what the site would have been like thousands of years ago.

The project aims to improve the visitor experience, including the creation of a new carefully designed visitor centre which will include education and exhibition spaces to help people learn more about Stonehenge’s history. The project will also support training opportunities and a new volunteering pro

Stonehenge voted a top 5 tourist attraction in the UK

In a recent user community survey, Stonehenge was voted one of the top 5 tourist attractions in the UK beating other popular locations such as the British Museum and the Tower of London. The user poll conducted by Readies, an online service that matches loan applicants with lenders was carried out with a view of finding out how their customers like to spend their free time during weekends, bank holidays and school holidays. Surprisingly, Stonehenge still rated highly as a preferred tourist destination amongst customers with young children and was one of the only non-child focused attractions that made the top 10.

13 Oct 2009

English Heritage Unveils Stonehenge Visitor Centre Designs

English Heritage unveiled its design for the new proposed visitor centre for Stonehenge.

The designs were revealed as a planning application for the Stonehenge Visitor Centre was made to Wiltshire Council. As announced by the Government last May, the new centre will be located at Airman’s Corner.

Stonehenge Visitor Centre images © English Heritage

Stonehenge – current aerial view + future aerial view
Stonehenge Visitor Centre Design Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Stonehenge – current ground-level view + future ground level view
Stonehenge Visitor Facilities Stonehenge Visitor Facility

Airman’s Corner – current view (from south) + future view (from south)
Stonehenge Visitor Facilities Stonehenge Visitor Facilities

Airman’s Corner – current view (from The Cursus) + future view (from The Cursus)
Stonehenge Visitor Facilities Stonehenge

Aerial view of the A344 and A303 junction. Under the proposal this section of the A344 will be closed and grassed over in 2012.(c) English Heritage
Stonehenge Aerial view

The new visitor centre is designed by leading architectural firm Denton Corker Marshall to be sensitive to its surroundings and to the significance of the monument.

Included in the plans are before-and-after images which show how the immediate surroundings of Stonehenge will be restored without the intrusion of modern traffic on the A344 or the current adjacent visitor centre facilities. The new centre, which is 1.5 miles to the west of the Stones, will not be visible from monument.

Feedback to English Heritage from a recent public exhibition on the outline plans and a paid survey site showed that 78 per cent agreed that the new centre would enhance visitors’ experience, while 69 per cent agreed that the proposals improved the setting of the Stones.

The exhibitions, café, shop and toilets will be housed in a pair of single-storey areas – one glass, the other timber-enclosed – sitting beneath a gently undulating roof. The centre will be linked to the Stones by a low-key transit system. It will be fully accessible to disabled visitors.

English Heritage’s Stonehenge project director Loraine Knowles said: “The new centre is designed to blend into the World Heritage landscape which visitors will pass through on their way to the Stones.

“It will provide enhanced opportunities for education and interpretation, and have first class facilities in keeping with Stonehenge’s status as a world-renowned tourist attraction.”

Current visitor facilities and parking

Site plan of the current proposals for the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre and related road arrangements

Site map showing the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre and parking facilities at Airman’s Corner
Stonehenge site

Layout of the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre
Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Stephen Quinlan, director of architects’ Denton Corker Marshall, said: “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.”

Sir Harry Studholme, chair of the Southwest Regional Development Agency, said:
“We strongly support improving the visitor facilities at Stonehenge. The designs reflect the unique landscape and cultural heritage of Stonehenge. The new visitor centre should enhance the experience of visiting the Stones while at the same time, acting as a gateway to our wonderful region.”

Brendan McCarthy, Director, The National Trust Wessex Region, said: “We are delighted that an application for planning permission is now being submitted by English Heritage. This reflects a huge amount of work by many people to get us to this point. The scheme represents an ambition to dramatically improve the facilities on offer to the many hundreds of thousands who visit each year and we look forward to our continuing work with English Heritage, as well as through the public consultation process, to ensure the best possible outcome.”

Gerry Hamersley, Natural England’s Area Manager for Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the West of England, said: The application marks an important moment for realising improvements that are so badly needed. Natural England remains committed to working with English Heritage to ensure that people enjoy not only the cultural experience of Stonehenge but also appreciate the high quality and significance of the natural environment that surrounds it.”

Wiltshire Council will now undertake further public consultation as part of the formal planning process. Further details of the application are available from Wiltshire Council. Alongside the planning application, English Heritage is supporting Wiltshire Council with their proposals for a Traffic Regulation Order restricting motorised traffic on the A344.

Stonehenge Visitor Facilities images / information from English Heritage

Denton Corker Marshall

Stonehenge Visitor Facilities : completion photos and information

Location: Stonehenge, England, UK

13 May 2009

English Heritage Welcomes Stonehenge Decision

English Heritage welcomed the Government’s decision today (13th May 2009) to go ahead with new visitor facilities for Stonehenge. Together with integrated proposals to close the A344, this decision will improve the monument’s setting and presentation to visitors.

Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, Chairman, English Heritage, said: “Our vision has always been to restore a sense of dignity to the setting of Stonehenge and to improve its visitor facilities.

A344 and A303 currently

“English Heritage has now secured, through working with the Department of Culture Media and Sport and a group of stakeholders, an agreed location for new visitor facilities in accordance with the World Heritage Site Management Plan. This will lead to a pragmatic and affordable scheme which will make significant and vitally-needed improvements to what we have now.”

A344 and A303 after closure and grassing over of

The chosen site, Airman’s Corner, is about 2.5km (1.5 miles) west from the current Stonehenge Visitor Centre, on the junction of the A344 and A360. It is at the edge of the World Heritage Site and has good access to the Stones. The decision has been welcomed by The National Trust, the UK Commission for UNESCO, the Southwest of England Regional Development Agency, and Southwest Tourism, among others.

The Stonehenge Visitor Centre scheme will include an efficient, all-weather visitor transit system, offering visitors the convenience of being dropped off near the monument. It is envisaged the new site will enable increased educational and interpretation facilities.

Sir Barry added: “Airman’s Corner had wide support and is the unanimous recommendation of the project team, supported by the major heritage groups and the landowners. I congratulate the Government for making this decisive and timely move. It is in the public interest for everyone who cares about Stonehenge and its conservation to be united in supporting this scheme and ensuring that the project is successfully delivered on time.

“I am also delighted to announce that after a tendering process leading architectural firm Denton Corker Marshall has been appointed to design the new centre. The design will pay special regard to the sensitive landscape and other environmental issues.”

Stephen Quinlan, Director of Denton Corker Marshall, said: “We are delighted to be working on Stonehenge once again, and we very much look forward to working with English Heritage. This project has always been close to our hearts and is especially interesting. For a long time there has been a need to find an appropriate solution for the visitor facilities, and we are very pleased to have the opportunity to help provide one.”

Current Stonehenge visitor facilities
Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said: “We are delighted by this latest step forward in developing a new visitor centre for Stonehenge and improving the surrounding landscape. The new facilities will significantly enhance the experience for the many thousands of visitors to this important landmark and the other planned work has the potential to greatly improve the setting of the monument. We look forward to working with English Heritage and other partners in helping take the project forward.”

Closure of the A344
The A344/A303 junction (Stonehenge Bottom) will be closed, and the section of the A344 from Stonehenge Bottom to the Stones will be decommissioned and grassed over. This will reunite Stonehenge with the ancient processional Avenue and improve the setting of the monument. The junction closure will also eliminate a traffic black spot, leading to fewer accidents on this part of the A303. The remaining part of the A344 will be the route for the visitor shuttle service between Airman’s Corner visitor centre and the Stones.

A planning application for the Stonehenge Visitor Centre will be submitted in the late summer, when there will be further public consultation on the scheme. Construction work on the Stonehenge Visitor Centre is expected to take place in 2011, with the new visitor facilities scheduled to open in 2012, in time for the London Olympics.

Sue Davies, culture committee chair for the UK National Commission for UNESCO, said: “The improvements offered by the Airman’s Corner proposal are long overdue – the current environment around Stonehenge is a disgrace and urgent action is required.

“This option will allow for much-improved conservation by allowing for the restoration of grasslands and a higher quality experience for visitors, many of whom see Stonehenge as a symbol of Britain. We look forward to its successful completion – as an international icon, Stonehenge both needs and deserves the investment.”

Geoff Wainwright FSA, President of the Society of Antiquaries, said: ‘We welcome the decision which is important for our international reputation as a nation which cares for its heritage.”

Juliet Williams, Chairman of The Southwest of England Regional Development Agency, said: “We strongly support significant improvement of the visitor facilities at Stonehenge. The Stones are one of the nation’s most important cultural landmarks and we shall work with our partners to do all that we can to realise the plans set out today. We are committed to giving visitors to the Southwest the very best experience and thereby encouraging more people to come and enjoy our spectacular and compelling region.”

Martin Bell, Director of Southwest Tourism, said: “Stonehenge is a key gateway to the Southwest and an the icon that helps us sell all the other wonderful heritage offerings our region has to offer and yet, for all to many years, the visitor experience has been marred by the proximity to the road and the associate traffic distraction. That is why this announcement is really welcomed and we cannot wait for the work to start and more importantly completed.”

Mike Heyworth, Director, Council for British Archaeology, said: “The CBA welcomes this decision as part of a sustainable 21st-century solution to the dual challenges of improving visitor access and conservation for this outstandingly important World Heritage Site. We applaud the Government’s support, and the commitment of the project’s partners, in taking the first step towards creating the public facilities and environmental improvement that Stonehenge’s world class archaeological landscape deserves.”

Location: Stonehenge, southwest England, UK

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