The Forest Centre, Upminster, Essex
- Client: Thames Chase
- Architect: Laurie Wood Architects
- Market Sector: Leisure
- Services: Structural Engineering
Thames Chase is a community forest to the east of London and south-west Essex. It provides visitors with a unique, free space to enjoy everything from nature to educational workshops, sports and festivals. The Forest Centre has been developed to inform people of how and why the forest has been created and demonstrate its many benefits.
The building shows how timber can be used in a modern and innovative way to provide a structure and envelope appropriate to the functions of the new centre. It employs an â€˜A-frameâ€™ structure using glulaminated rafters and structural softwood decking, providing a very efficient structural form which was quick to assemble on-site.
The timber structure is exposed and on view inside the building to provide an appropriate backcloth to the interpretive displays that feature wood and the community forest. Equally important, the design respects and complements the original tapestry of adjoining buildings, which consists of mediaeval listed barns. These have been carefully restored as part of this project.
- ‘A-frame’ structural form.
- Glue laminated rafters with structural softwood decking.
- Roof duct in cedar shingles.
- External cedar boarding to gable ends.
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