LocationThe National Arboretum, Westonbirt, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QS, United Kingdom
Text description provided by the architects. Invisible Studio were commissioned to build 2 new buildings comprising their new tree management centre – which is a Machinery Store and a Welfare Facility for the Tree Team. We particularly wanted to use the timber from the arboretum – as the client had an extraordinary resource which they hadn’t exploited previously for building. As a result, all the timber was grown and milled on site, and used untreated for the construction with no further processing.
One of our interests is how you can use imprecise materials to make a precise building, and this is something we have enjoyed with this project, which was constructed with volunteers working alongside a skilled contractor.
The engineering objective for the design for the building was to efficiently use timber from the arboretum; with all processing taking place on site minimising transport and processing costs. Many of the timbers to be used for the structures had not been felled until late in the design process and the design was adapted to suit the material that became available. A dialogue between engineers, architect and the contractor during fabrication of the timber frames facilitated the use higher quality timber where strength was most critical and in other areas make use of timbers that had not achieved the higher strength grading. This approach allowed the team to efficiently use the materials available.