A pragmatic spatial arrangement within a striking silhouette, the Langley Vale Visitors’ Hub is a visual marker in the landscape – a starting point and a destination.
VISITOR CENTRE / LANDSCAPE / COMMUNITY / COMPETITION
RIBA Competition for Langley Vale Visitor Hub / Surrey / 2016
Our proposal for The Langley Vale visitors’ hub offers a pragmatic solution to a range of access requirements, and a striking but familiar silhouette which complements its woodland environment. In its materials and form, it also tells a story about the forest itself, the resilience and importance of nature and the history of the site.
Inspired by the life and times of a local forester, born in the area in 1865. He managed the woods until the outbreak of the First World War, when forests around the UK were decimated by the conflict’s demand for timber. His two sons joined the army, and his life, like those of so many others, changed forever.
But the story didn’t end. His sons survived the war and returned to the village – one became the postman, and the other a woodworker. The community, like the landscape, eventually recovered and a century after the conflict, a new forest is being planted. The gentle inclines of the building’s roof and the undulation in its plan reflect this progress: from calm through conflict to growth, hope and adventure.
From the car park, visitors will approach the lower and lighter end of the building towards the clearly delineated entrance. From here, the building grows and the tones of the stained timber cladding become darker in a gradated pattern as the building directs the view towards the growing woodland beyond.