Langley Vale Visitor Hub


Simple, robust and appropriate. The new building offers both exciting new exhibition and interpretation space for visitors, and practical shelter from the weather. It is sited in the single strip along existing woodlands sheltered from the prevailing wind and just visible through gaps in the trees from the proposed visitor car park. It has a low profile against the sky and the treeline beyond. The linear plan is organised in two parallel strips of accommodation, the exhibition and interpretation space looking north east towards the Epson Downs with intimate views through the Memorial Wood. The large glazed windows to exhibition space will have the names of the the fallen etched into their inner surface as part of the memorial. The view through these names will extend into the memorial wood. The functional and supporting spaces will be accessed from the south west, under cover of the extended roof. There is a more economic compact version which is indicated in the drawings.
The simple English green oak timber structure provides a place for the visitors to both orientate themselves and discover interesting facts about the Woodland Trust and England’s Centenary Wood. The slender columns use traditional hand crafted tapered oak pegs in “draw bored” joints, to connect to the grid of beams, to indicate timber’s continuing relevance to contemporary construction. All the hand crafted materials are carefully selected, within the local supply chain for this project, with vertically boarded, breathing larch external wall panels, and direct glazed, double glazed units to the exterior of the frame. The composite floor is cast from the local flints and chalk and given a rough finish. The levels follow the contours of the ground stepping up the slope under the horizontal brown roof. The roof construction has been designed as a habitat for the local flora and fauna, its materials and profile blend with the landscape and it has the added technology of:


  • 1. Photovoltaic panels, to provide 11kWp of electrical power.
  • 2. Solar panels to provide 3.2kW of hot water heating.
  • 3. Slow run-off for rainwater, feeding grey water storage tanks.
  • 4. Flat glass roof lights to bring daylight and sunlight into the interior.

Technology to be included elsewhere:

  • 5. Sand filtered rainwater will be used for all internal requirements.
  • 6. Waste water will be treated in a decentralised waste water treatment system (DEWATS).
  • 7. High efficiency ‘rocket mass’ heaters will be located in the exhibition space and reception areas, fired as necessary with wood from Langley Vale.

Epson England
Client Woodland Trust
Dates 2015
Cost £300,000