Mottisfont’s welcome centre wins prestigious RIBA South Award 2016

May 3, 2016

Mottisfont’s striking new welcome centre, which opened in January 2016, has won a prestigious RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) South Award 2016.

Thirty two buildings were shortlisted for the region and assessed by a regional jury. Along with 16 others, Mottisfont’s win was announced at an awards evening on Thursday 28 April.

This means that the welcome centre will now be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award, the results of which will be announced in June.

Designed by Burd Haward Architects, the welcome centre was built in response to Mottisfont’s rapid increase in visitors over the last few years. It contains a Visitor Reception, shop, plant sales area and toilets, as well as places to meet people and plan your visit.

“The first impression of this building is a sense of welcome. It achieves a domestic simplicity that is carried from exterior to interior as one moves through the entrance sequence. This is married with a glorious materiality and crafted approach that results in a building that is both joyful and restful.”
RIBA judges, 2016

The design of the welcome centre is inspired by barns and other farm buildings in the local area. The architects, Burd Haward, wanted to base their building on local rural Hampshire architecture and on Mottisfont’s landscape.

The walls are made from wood and glass, to reflect the wood and water found in the estate. The land itself is reflected in the choice of Cor-Ten steel for the roof and some outer walls. This is a distinctive, ‘rusty’ looking material that has been used to great effect in a number of buildings and sculptures, including Kew Gardens and the Angel of the North.

The building’s steel screw pile foundations were designed to have a minimal impact on the landscape, and there are a number of other features which help minimise the welcome centre’s effect on the environment. Solar thermal panels have been installed on the roof, and the building is heated by a biomass boiler, fed with logs sourced from the estate.

Over the next six months, Mottisfont is also home to another RIBA South 2016 award winner, The Observatory. This fellow award winner consists of two structures that form an artist’s studio (The Study) and a public shelter (The Workshop), and will host three artist’s residencies during its time at Mottisfont. It’s being brought to the National Trust property by SPUD, a charity that specialises in arts, architecture and education projects.

For more information about Mottisfont visit or call 01794 340757.

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