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Works starts on new Stonehenge Visitor Centre 20 years after first mooted


I have spent a lot more time looking at Stonehenge and its landscape than DCM and consider the design to be wholly inappropriate for two fundamental reasons. Firstly its angular features are unsympathetic to the surrounding chalkland; do its hard edged glass and metal elements fit this mellowed ancient setting? Also the locality is exposed, and can be extremely cold and windy, glass and steel, really? But, and more importantly, Stonehenge is itself an architectural design. Forget all the hype about Stone Age computers and ‘astronomical alignments’ it was conceived, just like any other major structure on a drawing board, and set out by extremely competent prehistoric surveyors some 4,500 years ago. Just like any other construction the Neolithic architects and engineers who built Stonehenge knew exactly what they wanted long before the foundations were dug. The stones were positioned in respect of this superb premeditated geometric structure. It was also largely prefabricated (just look for example at the jointing in the lintels) which also indicates just how much thought and planning went into the design. As for alignments, it has only one, it’s axis of symmetry is that of the midwinter sunset and midsummer sunrise. It employs and incorporates elements which are natural, cyclic, and totally at one with the chalkland setting; few modern designers could take blocks weighing up to 50 tones and create such an elegant structure. Does this new visitor centre in any way convey a sense of understanding of what Stonehenge represents? We may not know what it for, but we do know how it was designed and built. Here is a unique opportunity to celebrate not only our finest prehistoric monument, but the very dawn of architecture itself. I believe we - and future generations deserve better than this. Anthony Johnson, Author ‘Solving Stonehenge’

Posted date

11 May, 2011

Posted time

12:16 pm