Fountains Abbey Visitor Centre
In 1987 the National Trust commissioned us to design a Visitor Centre and a new landscaped car park at the World Architectural Heritage Site at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. The site is high up above the valley of the River Skell and Fountains Abbey, which John Aislabie included into the landscaped gardens of Studley Royal in the early 1700s.
The external elevations of the building are made of dry-stone walls under clerestory glazing, itself protected by steeply pitched stone tile roofs with oversailing eaves.
This hard outer “shell” contrasts with the softer, lighter courtyard elevations: timber framed glazed screens under double-curved lead covered roofs, extending their eaves to form a generous covered way.
The glazing to the building’s elevations is made with eight-inch cedar boards spaced six inches apart and glazed to allow filtered light to pass, reminiscent of local farm buildings.