A new visitor centre now greets tourists at one of Britain’s most famous ancient sites.
Denton Corker Marshall’s building at Stonehenge – a prehistoric stone circle– is finally open to the public.
After years of negotiations and a string of failed proposals the centre is now complete on a site 2.5 km west of the stone circle, within the World Heritage Site but out of site of the ancient monument.
The building comprises three enclosures, all finished with different materials, which are sheltered beneath a undulating steel canopy and surrounded by a forest of over 200 angular steel columns.
Its largest block is clad with sweet chestnut wood and houses the museum’s exhibition gallery. Another features glass walls and houses an education centre, cafe and shop, while a smaller zinc-clad structure is sandwiched between and functions as a ticket office.
The underside of the steel canopy is clad with zinc panels and features an elaborate pattern of square-shaped perforations.
“The design of the centre is based on the idea that it is a prelude to the stones, and its architectural form and character should in no way diminish their visual impact, sense of timeless strength and powerful sculptural composition,” said Denton Corker Marshall’s Barrie Marshall.
“Where the stones are exposed, massive and purposefully positioned, the centre is sheltered, lightweight and informal. And where the stones seem embedded into the earth, the centre rests on its surface.”
Visitors can walk from the centre to the monument via a winding pathway, or can choose to take a ten-minute shuttle ride.