An eye-catching new addition to the Royal landscape, The Savill Building opened in June 2006 and is a vistor centre at the entrance to The Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park, Surrey. Even before completion, the building attracted much attention from the public with its undulating roof, shaped like a leaf, merging with the tall trees surrounding it.
The Crown Estate always intended to commission a modern building and one that incorporated traditional craftsmanship and materials, sympathetic with the adjoining parkland.
The winning design by Glenn Howells Architects uses a gridshell construction, a landmark feat of contemporary engineering, inspired by the strength and beauty of a seashell. Using sustainable timber from the Crown Estate forests – larch and oak for the roof and floor – the building was constructed as a single cell space oversailed with a gridshell roof. From inside the vast cathedral-like central space, the visitor can see the awesome, apparently self-supporting, green-wood roof, drawing the eye upwards and out towards the gardens through a glazed wall.