The new visitor facilities are a significant new project for the National Trust at Mottisfont in Hampshire on an architecturally and historically sensitive site. The development by Burd Haward Architects aims to improve the experience and facilities at the historic site, one of the Trust’s most popular properties in the region, renowned for its roses and its active contemporary arts programming.
Following preparation of a detailed site masterplan, the brief evolved to include conversion of a Grade II listed coach house into a restaurant, and development of new buildings at the entrance to the site to house a new reception and entrance to the site, shop, café and visitor WCs.
The new buildings have been designed to tread lightly on the site, which is on the banks of the river Test and an SSSI, adjacent to the listed landscape. The new buildings are raised above ground level to avoid impact on the flood plain and risk of flooding. The use of pre-fabricated construction methods and screw piles avoids potential ground and water contamination and minimised excavations.
The new facilities are housed in a collection of three new buildings arranged around a courtyard. The form and materials of the buildings take cues from agricultural structures typically found on the edge of a large estate. Externally the shop is clad in weathering steel (cor-ten), the café/WCs in timber boarding and zinc, and the entrance reception element is glazed with deep timber fins to allow views through to the river and gardens. The buildings are timber framed, with their prefabricated engineered timber structure clearly expressed internally.
A ramp leads visitors up from car park through the new visitor entrance and into the raised entrance courtyard: from here a timber walkway crosses the stream, meanders through woodland and connects with the existing drive, and the start of historical route through the gardens towards the house.
Design and info © Burd Haward Architects
Images © Jack Hobhouse