Architecture Update: Cullinan grass roof wins Stonehenge centre competition

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The Independent Culture
THERE was little surprise at last Friday's announcement that Edward Cullinan Architects has won the competition to design a new visitors' centre at Stonehenge.

Although Cullinan faced formidable competition from five other short-listed firms, the assessors were known to be impressed with Cullinan's grass- covered roof at the headquarters of RMC International in Thorpe, Surrey, an idea the architects have reworked for the Stonehenge project. The result is a long, low building set into the landscape with a grass roof that extends to a circular viewing platform set on higher ground. Cullinan also proposes to tuck a new car park in among trees some three-quarters of a mile from the stones.

The overall plans for the site, which are to be examined at a public inquiry in March, include the closure of the A344, which currently cuts the site in two, and the provision of a new access road from the west.

Jocelyn Stevens, chairman of English Heritage and chief assessor of the competition, said: 'The choice of Edward Cullinan was not an easy one, since all six submissions were of a very high standard and reflected a wide variety of approach to the difficult problem of designing a structure to fit into the historic landscape that surrounds Stonehenge.'

Two firms, Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones, and Colvin Moggridge Landscape Architects received special commendations in the competition.