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Stonehenge / United Kingdom

Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Sport venues: 2014 Winter Games

For a long time, building a visitor centre for Stonehenge, the famous 5000 year old stone circle construction, seemed to be a mission impossible. Finally, after various setbacks and discussions, the centre opened in winter 2013. Keeping a respectful distance to the world famous stone circle, the visitor centre aspires to be no more than a first point of contact and information.

Light and casual

The building blends in smoothly with the distinctive, undulating landscape, always opening up to the horizon. Within its own context, however, it reveals lightness and casualness, as if to compensate for the massive immoveable monolithic stone circle behind the hill. Based on a self-supporting foundation plate, three cubes are spanned by a canopy, delicate in appearance and curved, resting on irregular struts. The whole structure has been designed in a way that it could be dismantled at any time without leaving any traces. The largest of the three cubes, clad with a weathered hazel wood façade, contains an exhibition area as well as rest rooms.

A second glass cube houses a café, a museum shop and educational facilities. Between them, the third cube with a zinc sheet cladding contains the ticket desk. All three structures are light-weight constructions with extensive thermal insulation to meet environmental and sustainability requirements. Furthermore, the complex features underground heat exchangers, natural ventilation and water treatment systems. Although the three cubes are spanned by a canopy resembling a sail, they are each equipped with their own fully functional roof waterproofing. The material applied was the same as on the large canopy which stretches out well beyond the cubes. With a view to sustainability and environmental protection, it was decided to use the ecological roof waterproofing system of EVALASTIC®, a high quality, long-term reliable EPDM waterproofing membrane.

Roofs below the roof

Applying the roof waterproofing to thetwo large cubes proved to be a challengefor the roofers because of the numerousstruts, whilst weather conditions madewaterproofing the large canopy a demandingtask. At the canopy, the EPDM membrane was directlybonded to large size plywood panels. Acommon laying method in the UK. In some places the roof area was lowered,while keeping the parapet edge at thesame height.

Consequently, the waterproofing membraneshad to be installed not only on the flat roof areabut also be flashed and fixed against the unusuallyhigh parapet. The numerous struts supporting theroof had to be integrated individually.The EPDM membranes are homogeneouslywelded together with hot air, givingthe impression of a single continuouswaterproofing from one roof edge to theother.

In the end, about 25 million pounds have been invested for the Stonehenge VisitorCentre to build a worthy gatewayfor the visitors to the UNESCO WorldHeritage Site of Stonehenge. The new centre willgive the millions of visitors a visuallyinspiring welcome.

Project participants

Object: Stonehenge Visitor Centre
Investor: English Heritage, UK
Architect: ICB (International Construction Bureau) Limited Poole, Dorset, UK
Planner: Denton Corker Marshall’s, Melbourne, Australien
Sealing work: Malone Roofing Newbury Berkshire, UK
Material: EPDM (EVALASTIC®) membranes, accessories
Type of work: new-built
Date of construction: 2014

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