Woodland Centre

Langley Vale, Surrey

Type: Competition for a new visitor centre
Client: The Woodland Trust
Contract Value: £325,000
Status: January 2016
Collaboration: Diana Edmunds

The Langley Vale Canopy Hub endeavours to commemorate the great sacrifice and collective effort of 90,00 women who volunteered in the Red Cross during the Great War. The local town, Epsom, was a particular centre of activity where women sewed trench slippers.

The hub’s cladding is built in honour of the 90,000 women. Emerging from the ground is a singular and continuous corten steel wall that wraps around the building to the other side punctured with small rectangles. Each rectangle represents one woman. The punctures intensify and become vertical steel fins that support the canopy. These steel fins are the ultimate representation of women volunteers and each carry a name etched into the steel at their base.

On a practical level, the building south facing to capture natural sunlight throughout, and all private and public spaces have spectacular views over the woodlands. Toilets are designed with external access, so when un-staffed, facilities can remain open 24/7. The storage and maintenance equipment can be accessed internally and externally for larger equipment. The kitchen opens onto the main space to provide a public front for events and
cafe use.

The hub is designed to serve the public and maximise their experience of the site but also, and importantly, as a place of learning. For events, A great hall can be opened to extend beneath the tree canopies in a terrace. This proposal is designed to combine leisure, learning and history at Langley Vale Canopy Hub