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Client / Forestry Commission
Budget / GBP 1,000,000
Stage / RIBA Stage C

Finalist National Competition 2009

Developed with William Haley Engineering Ltd.

Westonbirt Arboretum is a unique place that embodies a sophisticated approach to landscape design. It is characterised by elegance and restraint.

With this intrinsic quality in mind our approach to the design of a high level walkway has been to concentrate on a design that is very much subservient to the trees and landscape it provides access to. The parapet design is for a series of slatted timber panels that alternate in pitch and angle to create a subtly varying pattern of aperture. The visual appreciation of the Trail is as important from the deck level as a user as it is from ground level.

The structure will be fabricated from a combination of two different native timbers: Douglas Fir and English Oak. The Fir will be kiln dried but untreated, whilst the Oak would be oiled. The two timbers will create a subtle staccato effect over the length of the structure. Each of the timbers will weather differently, maintaining the contrast in colour for the lifespan of the structure. The slatted timbers will also be given differing orientations, so that like blinds they can be used to obscure or reveal views to the forest floor.

The structural principle proposed is a full height combined truss / parapet. This provides economic benefits but also ensures the depth of the structure is kept to a minimum. The individual spans are clean and elegant trajectories that do not employ geometric complexity or extravagance for their effect ? rather it is the quality of material and simplicity of the structural form in amongst the trees that provides the interest. The primary vertical structure will be a twisting filigree truss. The delicate nature of this structure will help to ensure that the Vantage Point is largely ?lost? amongst the trees.