Mottisfont's welcome centre wins RIBA award

Looking across the courtyard to the shop at the new Welcome Centre at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Mottisfont's striking new welcome centre, which opened in January 2016, has won a prestigious RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) South Award 2016.

Thirty two buildings were shortlisted for the region and assessed by a regional jury. Along with 16 others, Mottisfont's win was announced at an awards evening on Thursday 28 April. See the full list of winners here.

This means that our welcome centre will now be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award, the results of which will be announced in June.

" The first impression ... is a sense of welcome ... a building that is both joyful and restful. "
- RIBA judges, 2016

Designed by Burd Haward Architects, the welcome centre was built in response to our rapid increase in visitors over the last few years. It contains a Visitor Reception, shop, plant sales area and toilets, as well as places to meet people and plan your visit.

A brand new welcome

Our new building provides a more spacious and welcoming visitor reception area. Members are able to take advantage of a fast-track entry during busy periods.

This eye-catching wall in visitor reception playfully introduces features of Mottisfont
A fireplace and chairs fronts artwork by Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer, depicting hidden spaces of Mottisfont, in Hampshire
This eye-catching wall in visitor reception playfully introduces features of Mottisfont

A particularly special feature to look out for in this new area is a stunning 8 metre-long art work by Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer, a photographic 'capriccio' or architectural fantasy that introduces some of Mottisfont's hidden corners through a series of illusionistic spaces.

The light and airy shop is a great space to browse the National Trust’s fantastic variety of products, with a new plant sales area situated in a courtyard area outside.

Mottisfont's shop is a beautiful space for browsing
Items displayed on a table in the shop at Mottisfont, Hampshire
Mottisfont's shop is a beautiful space for browsing

Designed to fit the landscape

The design of the welcome centre is inspired by barns and other farm buildings in the local area. The architects, Burd Haward, wanted to base their building on local rural Hampshire architecture and on Mottisfont’s landscape.

The walls are made from wood and glass, to reflect the wood and water found in the estate. The land itself is reflected in the choice of Cor-Ten steel for the roof and some outer walls. This is a distinctive, ‘rusty’ looking material that has been used to great effect in a number of buildings and sculptures, including Kew Gardens and the Angel of the North.

The building’s steel screw pile foundations were designed to have a minimal impact on the landscape, and there are a number of other features which help minimise the welcome centre’s effect on the environment. Solar thermal panels have been installed on the roof, and the building is heated by a biomass boiler, fed with logs sourced from the estate.

A new home for another award winner

From May - October, our grounds will be home to another RIBA South 2016 award winner, The Observatory.

The interior of The Observatory, taken at Mottisfont, Hampshire

The Observatory at Mottisfont 

See and engage with contemporary artists creating work in The Observatory, set in Mottisfont's grounds until 31 October. This structural installation serves as a studio and workshop for artists-in-residence, and is open to the public.