Gridshell Building Up For Yet Another Award

By David Prudames | 23 September 2002
architects, engineers, historians... you name it, they love it.

Left: architects, engineers, historians... you name it, they love it. © Weald and Downland Museum

The innovative and beautiful Downland Gridshell building at The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum is up for yet another award.

Completed earlier this year, the building has been short-listed for the major annual British architecture award, the Stirling Prize.

Built to mirror the sweeping landscape of Sussex's South Downs, the curved timber structure has already won a RIBA Architecture Award and been nominated for a Building Construction Industry Award.

"The building is inclusive, accessible, innovative, sustainable and beautiful," said the Stirling Prize judges.

daily tours can be taken of this extraordinary project.

Right: daily tours can be taken of this extraordinary project. © Weald and Downland Museum

"The project fostered creativity and exceptional craftsmanship. We felt it was ground-breaking and lovable," they explained before adding that it was "an extraordinary building and a joy to visit."

The building is mainly used as a store for the Sussex museum's rural history collection, but also acts as a building conservation workshop, where training courses are held.

With its extraordinary timber shell the building has generated a great deal of interest from architects, engineers and historians alike and represents the Weald and Downland Museum's efforts to encourage modern building with integrity.

"The Downland Gridshell is a testament to architectural and building techniques of the early part of this century, as the Museum's historic building exhibits are to their own time," explained Museum Director Richard Harris.

it is hoped the Gridshell will encourage other projects to be built with integrity

Left: it is hoped the Gridshell will encourage other projects to be built with integrity. © Weald and Downland Museum

"This exciting new space will enable us to extend our work in building conservation and rural life for the future."

Designed by Edward Cullinan Architects and Buro Happold Engineers, the £1.8 million project was built by a team of traditionally trained carpenters and timber boat builders.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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