A £15.7 million Remembrance Centre has welcomed its first visitors following a nine-year fundraising campaign by the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
The centre features aluminium window and door systems in a beautiful bronzed anodised finish from leading provider of aluminium glazing systems Reynaers. The build includes three exhibition galleries, a multi-screen cinema and hands-on interactive displays.
The Royal British Legion’s Arboretum at Alrewas, near Lichfield, has 330 memorials across a tranquil 150-acre site with 30,000 maturing trees.
The new centre, sympathetically designed by the prestigious Glenn Howells Architects, uses a wide range of Reynaers’ curtain wall and windows and doors systems. It was built by contractors Stepnell and the consultant was Wintech Ltd.
With a large restaurant and shop, separate coffee shop and beautiful cloistered courtyard with garden, it’s hoped that the new centre will attract hundreds of thousands of new visitors to the Arboretum.
Michael Kendrick, Project Architect at Glenn Howells Architects, said: “We were appointed in 2009 and the architectural brief was to provide larger and higher quality facilities that included flexible and efficient spaces for interpretation, education, catering and retail.
“The aim of the new contemporary Remembrance Centre was to transform the NMA’s visitor offer by providing a warm and inviting space for reflection, memorial and celebration of life, to be enjoyed by people from all walks of life and by all generations. The large glazed openings play an important part in creating an appropriate mood for the spaces throughout the development, and a bronze anodised finish was chosen to tone in with the warmth of the timber frame and cladding.
“I’ve worked with Reynaers for years and they provided a really good specification service and we were really happy with the products that were installed.”
Rebecca Cope said: “This iconic building will give people the opportunity to record and upload their own stories to a new national archive through a unique Memory Booth, as well as enjoying a sensory play garden, full of textures, scented foliage, and natural materials.
“It’s a beautiful place in a unique setting and we are really proud to have this in our extensive portfolio of energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing buildings that use our aluminium systems.”