Stonehenge: Surrounding landscape and visitor centre
Stonehenge in Wiltshire is among the world’s most iconic and best known archaeological sites. It stands as testimony to the prehistoric peoples who built it some 4,000 years ago and is one of the most intriguing and remarkable monuments in Europe.
Sadly, for many years, Stonehenge has been severely compromised by a busy road cutting it off from its surrounding landscape and by outdated visitor facilities and parking close to the monument.
This project sought to restore a sense of dignity and wonder to the setting by building a new visitor centre at a location further from the Stones and providing new interpretation and exhibitions. By removing the road and the outdated visitor facilities, it was possible to restore the ancient landscape and re-unite the monument with The Avenue, its original processional route. The new building was designed to sit unobtrusively in the ancient landscape, minimising below ground disturbance and alteration of the existing topography, while creating an accessible and legible layout for visitors. A visitor shuttle service runs from the visitor centre, along the route of the closed road, thereby avoiding the need for additional infrastructure.
The Jury recognised that the opening of the Stonehenge visitor centre in 2013 was the fulfilment of many years of hard work to find a solution to traffic and visitor problems for this outstanding World Heritage Site. They admired the new building, designed by international architects, discreetly out of view of Stonehenge, and the interpretation based on major programmes of research into the archaeology and early history of the area. The partnership formed between English Heritage and the National Trust to manage the approaches to the monument is a fine example of cooperation between the UK’s two leading conservation bodies.