Lightweight and expressive - Stonehenge visitor centre with zinc composite panels

Alcoa Architectural Products, Merxheim/Frankreich
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Stonehenge Visitors Center Wiltshire, United-Kingdom

The new Stonehenge visitors center cost £27 million and opened its doors on the 18th of December 2013. One million visitors are expected each year. It was designed to answer the issue of fitting a modern building next to a world famous monument: the iconic Stonehenge. The architects firm Denton Corker Marshall was in charge of the project and succeeded in offering a proud welcome to the visitors coming to admire the megaliths. The building is perfectly integrated in the landscape: a discrete and sustainable edifice. It consists of a subtle mix between natural materials, all sheltered by a delicate and perforated canopy in Reynobond Zinc® composite panels. The architects made a point of using local, recyclable and renewable materials to ensure the sustainability of the premises. The architect Barrie Marshall wanted to create the feeling that the center is a foretaste to the Stones, avoiding to overshadow them. It is important to underline that the visitors center, unlike the stones, was created to be disassembled and leave the minimum possible traces on the site.

The canopy ensures natural sun shading, which fosters natural ventilation and diminishes the need for cooling. It also acts as a container for rainwater, which is used as “grey water“ (for example to flush the toilets), or as drinkable water. The roof covers 2,800m² supported by over 200 slender columns. The aim of the columns is to contrast with the mass of the stones, furthermore they are less than 8m high, which is lower than the height of the cromlech.

The ticket office, the canopy and its underside were clad in in the shade Reynobond Zinc® composite panels QUARTZ-ZINC®. Each panel measures 938mm square and 4mm-thick composite with a PE core. The 3,268 panels were installed parallel to the canopy edges and coordinated with the columns. The panels were perforated* all around the roof in order to reflect the play on light produced by the sun in a tree.

Lightweight and expressive - Stonehenge visitor centre with zinc composite panels

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