A sense of welcome
Burd Haward Architects for The National Trust
Contract value: £2.1m
Mottisfont Abbey, renowned for its rose gardens and arts programme, is visited by more than 250,000 people a year. The architect was appointed in 2010 to improve the entrance facilities. The new buildings, which cleverly incorporate natural and mechanical technologies into the form, are set between the existing car park and a tributary of the River Test. They house visitor arrival and ticketing, a new shop, office, staff room, visitor WCs and a covered external area that can be used as temporary café/sales space.
The first impression is a sense of welcome. The building achieves a domestic simplicity that is carried from exterior to interior as one moves through the entrance sequence. This is married with a crafted approach that results in a building that is joyful and restful. Simple material palettes and a few key design decisions, such as lifting the building up, add to the lightness of touch.