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Revealed: Shortlist for Langley Vale visitor centre

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A three-strong shortlist, including London’s Studio Octopi, has been named in the competition to design a £325,000 visitor centre in Langley Vale Wood, Surrey

The practice – which won an invited contest for a new lido in Peckham Rye last year – is up against MORE design and Mark Wray Architects of Bath in the RIBA-organised competition.

The full shortlist

  • Mark Wray Architects, Bath
  • MORE design, London
  • Studio Octopi, London

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: ‘The competition had a tremendous response. Perhaps this is not surprising because the brief and the site offer a great opportunity for a team to make a mark. The research, imagination and communication of ideas in the submissions were astonishing.’

She continued: ‘Although it was hard choosing just three to go forward, the selected teams offer different approaches while capturing the values and needs of the Woodland Trust. I look forward to the next stage with relish.’

Speight added: ‘Selecting just three designs from more than 250 entries was incredibly difficult, but we were thrilled to see how our First World War Centenary Woods project had captured the imaginations of so many.

She continued: ‘Creating this visitor hub at Langley Vale is very important to us; we want it to be not only a place of remembrance, but a valuable local resource. This will be our first visitor hub in England, and is just part of our wider plan to provide facilities which enhance the experience for anyone spending time in our woods.’

The finalists will each receive a £3,000 honorarium to develop their designs ahead of interviews with the judging panel in late April.



Langley Vale competition site



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