The award winning Visitor Centre at Atherstone was commissioned by Dobbies Garden Centres to attract visitors and potential customers to their 56- acre country park ‘Plantasia’, which features the United Kingdom’s largest permanent collection of six themed mazes, tree-top boardwalk trails, woodland areas, fishing lakes, deer park and extensive grounds. The Visitor Centre building houses educational facilities, a coffee shop and a gift shop.

HPW had previously designed a new extension and refurbishment of the neighbouring Dobbies Garden World garden centre, and the client team at Dobbies, wishing to maximize footfall to the development, subsequently engaged HPW as architects and designers for the new Visitor Centre project. The design by the HPW team for the new building was awarded the inaugural Civic Design Prize in 2003.

Constructed of sustainably sourced lightweight timber frame, the two converging circular elements of the building are cantilevered over a lake to enable visitors to closely engage with the wildlife, fauna and context of the site. The structure and all the wall panels were prefabricated off site to speed construction and minimize disruption to the already active garden centre.

The Atherstone Visitor Centre continues to be actively used as a gateway to the popular parkland and lakes.

Green Halo Partnership