Wood Award, Commercial & Public Sector

Sutton Hoo Visitor Centre, Woodbridge, Suffolk | van Heyningen & Haward

Reception and exhibition spaces are split into two barn-like timber buildings, set among trees at one corner of the site and close to the main car park. Their gable end entrances, each with an overhanging roof to give shelter in bad weather, face each other to create an informal courtyard. Both are designed to be, in the words of the architect 'non-assertive and appear recessive in the landscape'. 
The frame structure, exterior and interior cladding of the two buildings are all of Douglas Fir. The exterior is clad with horizontal ship-lap boarding, partly reflecting the traditional Suffolk black weather-boarded barns and partly the timber construction of the Anglo-Saxon ships discovered buried with kings. 
The use of timber also accords with the ethos of the National Trust, to commission buildings which are sympathetic to their surroundings and to use materials which are from local and sustainable resources. 

Source: TRADA