Simple and robust resolution
Glenn Howells Architects for Forestry Commission
Contract value: £1.7m
Grade I listed Westonbirt Arboretum houses one of the world’s finest tree collections. The brief was to increase visitor numbers, improve accessibility and create a high-level walkway with vantage points that would bring visitors from the Welcome Centre into the heart of the Silkwood.
A complex 3D design process has come to simple and robust resolution. Access is on grade at both ends of the 300m walkway, which crosses the valley in a subtle and remarkable way: no lifts, no stairs. It snakes above and through the tree canopy on elegant scissor timber legs. The architects should be applauded for their tenacity and vision in creating a national piece of architecture that celebrates the woodland and further raises the significance of this arboretum.
Visitor numbers hit target in the first six months, rising from 300,000 to 500,000. They are still rising.
Regional Client of the Year