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Glenn Howells' National Memoral Arboretum centre starts on site

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Work has begun on Glenn Howells Architects’ long-awaited scheme for The National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Alrewas, Staffordshire

The practice was first appointed to the scheme in 2009, and the scheme won planning three years ago.

The new remembrance centre plans will expand an existing timber visitor centre on the 61 hectare site and will house an interpretation exhibition, shops, a café and a learning centre.

A timber colonnade will link the new building with the existing Armed Forces memorial and the millennium chapel already at the arboretum.

The remembrance centre forms the northern point of the National Memorial Arboretum complex, with the existing visitor centre to the west, chapel to the east, and the arboretum to the south.

The new building’s limestone façade references the Portland stone of the nearby Armed Forces Memorial, whilst a timber portico and slatted timber cloister wrap around the centre.

The £15.7 million remodelling programme at the arboretum will increase the site’s capacity from 300,000 visitors to 500,000 visitors a year.

Glenn Howells, director of Glenn Howells Architects, said: ‘We are proud to work in this significant and beautiful natural setting. The addition of the contemporary new

Remembrance Centre will allow the Arboretum to extend its offer to visitors, bringing together the old and new fragments of this beautiful site into a unified and enhanced complex to be enjoyed by all generations.’

Sarah Montgomery, director of the National Memorial Arboretum, added: ‘Over an extended design period, Glenn Howells Architects has become engrained in the Arboretum, gaining both huge insight into the meaning of the site and understanding exactly what is experienced by our visitors. Faced with growing popularity and our wish to further extend our appeal to new audiences, this construction project is much needed.’

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