Stonehenge Visitor centre, (United kingdom)


Stonehenge Visitor centre (United kingdom)

Does modern architecture suit all environments?  What is the best way to approach building next to a world famous monument as iconic as Stonehenge, which today could be perceived as Land-Art but was actually built between 2,800 and 1,100 B.C.? The new building designed by architects firm Denton Corker Marshall offers a proud welcome to visitors coming to admire the megaliths. One million visitors are expected every year.






Architect: Angela Dapper and Dominic Davey - Denton corker Marshall
Technique: VMZINC® Composite and VMZINC® perforated CompositeSurface aspect: QUARTZ-ZINC®


Although the visitor center is almost two kilometres from the circular enclosure of granite, the question of its integration was crucial: other, less important monolithic monuments border the World Heritage site around a construction-free plain where any new  building would be very noticeable. Furthermore, the A344, a road passing near the stone circle was in fact removed in the sense of wilderness and timelessness of the site.




The building does not intend to compete with the monument. A slim, slightly veiled roof covers three pods housing the ticket office, a
shop, café and exhibition area. The roof melts into the horizon as visitors approach the megalithic circle. It is supported by 200 slender columns that contrast sharply with the powerful mass of the stones, and are less than eight metres high, which is lower than the height of the cromlech. Unlike the eternal granite menhirs, the visitor centre was designed to be disassembled and to leave the least possible trace on the site. It was constructed on a large concrete raft foundation to minimize excavations. The columns and roofing can be disassembled and preference was given to recyclable materials. QUARTZ-ZINC® has pride of place in this project. It was used to clad the ticket office, on the underside of the canopy and on the roof.

Panels of VMZ Composite were perforated on the periphery of the roof to create a play of light similar to that produced by the sun through the leaves of trees. The building could be perceived as an artificial tree on a plain.