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Remembrance Centre

The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s national site of remembrance—a spiritually uplifting place commemorating lives lost in military or civil service through the memorial of living nature.

In synthesis with nature

Established in 1997 on a reclaimed Staffordshire quarry, the 60-hectare arboretum provides more than 300,000 visitors a year with an environment for tranquil reflection among 30,000 maturing trees. The brief called for a building in synthesis with the landscape to act as an introduction to the arboretum—orientating visitors within the site on arrival.

Our solution was conceived as part of the wider landscape, striking a delicate balance between commemorating human loss and providing future generations with positive experiences of recollection.

  • Concept sketch

    Concept sketch

  • 1:200 model

    1:200 model

  • Entrance to the Arboretum


The sustainable design employs simple and pure architectural forms and a pared-back natural materiality to provide new space for exhibitions, interpretation and learning as well as a restaurant, café and retail space. Wrapping and incorporating existing facilities including a chapel and an Armed Forces Memorial, our new timber and limestone-clad buildings employ the steady and unifying rhythm of a 4-metre grid to create a sense of pavilions connected in a landscape.

  • View towards the Armed Forces Memorial

    View towards the Armed Forces Memorial

  • Entrance collonade

  • Natural materials

An image showing the multi-media exhibition

Legibility and wayfinding

Rising above the consistent datum of our strongly horizontal rooflines, a drum-shaped rotunda marks the point of arrival at the centre, ushering visitors inside to an immersive film experience introducing the arboretum concept. Beyond the entrance sequence, the collection of buildings opens up to Heroes’ Square—a cloistered outside space for year-round events, outdoor dining and shelter from the elements.

  • Entrance lobby

    Entrance lobby

  • Restaurant


  • View to the restaurant from Heroes' Square

    View to the restaurant from Heroes' Square

Reflecting the landscape qualities of woodlands, reed beds, grasslands and wetlands from landscape architects Fira, our interior spaces employ a harmonised palette of natural materials, textures and colours.

“Opening the doors of our new Remembrance Centre to the public marks the culmination of years of hard work and it is fantastic to see our compelling vision become a reality. We look forward to welcoming the many thousands of visitors that we are now capable of accommodating, thanks to the new facilities.”
Lt Col David Whimpenny, Chairman, National Memorial Arboretum Board

  • A view of Heroes' Square

    Heroes' Square

  • View from restaurant to Heroes' Square

    View from restaurant to Heroes' Square

  • An image showing landscape and materiality

    Landscape and materiality

View of Heroes' Square
Client National Memorial Arboretum and the Royal British Legion
Location Alrewas, Staffordshire
Size 2,800 sq m
Status Completed 2016
Awards RIBA National Award 2017, RIBA Regional Building of the Year 2017, RICS National Project of the Year Award 2017
Glenn Howells
Dav Bansal
Charlotte Gallen
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