Mark Wray Architects has won the competition for a £325,000 visitor centre in Langley Vale Wood, Surrey
The Bath-based practice – set up three years ago – defeated MORE design and London’s Studio Octopi to win the RIBA Competitions-organised contest.
Open to architects, designers, landscape architects and students – the contest sought ideas for a 300m² structure featuring toilets and shelter for the site’s 180,000 annual visitors.
The new facility for The Woodland Trust aims to raise the profile of the 260 hectare landscape which has been designated as England’s First World War Centenary Wood.
Intended as a ‘living tribute’ to those affected by the First World War, the site close to the M25 currently features around 56 hectares of ancient woodland and is understood to be where soldiers trained for trench warfare.
Judges include Woodland Trust chief executive Beccy Speight and Sarah Wigglesworth of Sarah Wigglesworth Architects who will be acting as RIBA client advisor.
Wigglesworth commented: ‘This project has been a great opportunity for a new practice to realise a highly visible public building. Each of the three shortlisted schemes were all stunning in their own way, making the judging process challenging.
‘The selected project was highly imaginative, simple, practical and of its place, while clearly communicating the ethos of the Woodland Trust. I very much look forward to seeing it built. Congratulations to the winning team and commiserations to those that so nearly made it.’
Studio founder Mark Wray said: ‘We are really delighted to have won this RIBA open competition and are looking forward to working with the Woodland Trust to develop this exciting and important project for them.’
Other projects completed by Wray – who previously worked at Purcell, Wright & Wright and Richard Griffiths Architects – include a refurbishment of the At-Bristol Planetarium and a house extension in Bath.
The architect will now work with Woodland Trust to further develop the proposal ahead of a planning application.