National Memorial Arboretum’s stunning Remembrance Centre scoops string of awards

The stunning new Remembrance Centre - built by Stepnell - at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire has been honoured with a string of architectural and construction awards.

Designed by Glenn Howells Architects, the impressive £15.7 million building featuring has significantly enhanced and expanded facilities for the growing number of visitors to the Arboretum which is the UK’s national focus for remembrance.

The Remembrance Centre took the Regional Award and the Building of the Year title at the RIBA West Midlands regional awards in recognition of its architectural excellence.  The judging panel praised the way the building has risen to the challenge of unifying an existing chapel, former visitor centre and external spaces and gardens, saying: “The project leaves an imposing but not intimidating impression. Every member of the judging panel was visibly moved by the experience of the building.”

In addition, the Remembrance Centre, which opened to the public in October 2016, scooped two titles at the RICS Awards for the West Midlands, which celebrate the region’s most outstanding construction developments. The new Remembrance and Learning Centre took the top award in the Community Benefit and Tourism & Leisure categories. 

Bill Haynes, construction director says: “Our project team are all delighted by this recognition for the Remembrance Centre and feel privileged to have played a part in delivering this inspiring building for such a nationally significant site.” Stepnell worked closely with the Arboretum’s management team to ensure that the Arboretum remained open throughout the redevelopment.

The new Remembrance Centre building features a dramatic drum-shaped rotunda audio visual theatre space, an interpretation exhibition, a large restaurant, welcome and orientation area and a learning centre. It has a limestone façade – echoing the Portland stone of the nearby Armed Forces Memorial - while a timber colonnade links it to the Arboretum’s original visitor centre which has been retained and extended. The Centre also includes a timber portico and slatted timber cloisters. Heroes’ Square, a central courtyard space, has been created within the cloisters and provides a formal square for set-piece ceremonies. A landscaped garden leads into the wider Arboretum where there are over 30,000 maturing trees and over 330 memorials.