The project, which went on-site yesterday, sees Denton Corker Marshall design all interiors and exteriors for the centre, while Haley Sharpe Design is working on interpretation design for the exhibition space.
The single-storey building will use one glass pod and one timber pod, which will be joined by an undulating canopy form designed to reflect the Salisbury Plain. The pods will house an exhibition and museum space, shop and café.
Denton Corker Marshall director Stephen Quinlan says, ‘We describe the canopy as a “leaf” with the way it curves. It’s a visual device, it doesn’t protect you from the rain – if it’s raining when you visit Stonehenge you’re going to get wet anyway.’
The metal roof is perforated and supported by randomly arranged slender columns, aiming to create a ‘transitory and temporary sense to the centre’, according to the architect.
Quinlan says the interiors will be ‘restrained’, with polished concrete flooring. He adds, ‘We’ve tried very, very hard to make it low energy and sustainable. We’re using water from bore holes and recycling rainwater.’
The existing visitor facilities and car parking are being re-located to Airman’s Corner, approximately 2.5 km from the Stones westward along the A344, out of the sight from the monument. Visitors will access it either on foot or via a small ‘road train’ shuttle service.
The site is due for completion in autumn 2013.