Wolfson Tree Management Centre

Invisible Studio, Tetbury, 2016


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The mess building's location was determined by the surrounding trees  

Andy Matthews     Download Original

  • The mess building    
  • The mess building is clad in oak    
  • The machinery store was clad in pre-made panels    
  • Exterior view of the mess building    
  • A large overhang provides shelter at the entrance to the mess building    
  • Large doors provide access for utility vehicles    
  • Polycarbonate cladding    
  • The mess building is lined in plywood    
  • Polycarbonate cladding admits light into the space    
  • Plywood lining in the mess room    
  • Machinery store – Site plan phase 1 and 2    
  • Machinery store – Site Location Plan    
  • Machinery store and yard setout plan    
  • Machinery store – Setout plan    
  • Machinery store – Manhole setout plan    
  • Machinery store – Yard setout plan    
  • Machinery store – Foundation setout plan    
  • Machinery store – Isometric plan    
  • Machinery store – Ground plan    
  • Machinery store – Reflected ceiling plan    
  • Machinery store – Roof plan    
  • Machinery store – Truss section key plan    
  • Machinery store – Cross section AA    
  • Machinery store – Truss sections BB and CC    
  • Machinery store – Truss section DD    
  • Mess room setting out plan    
  • Mess building structural plans    
  • Mess building plan    
  • Mess room sections    
  • Mess building section    
  • Mess building section AA    
  • Mess building section CC    
  • Machinery store – Truss section EE    
  • Mess room elevations    
  • Machinery store – Aerial plan    
  • Machinery store – 3D projection    
  • Machinery store threshold details    
  • Mess buildling details    
  • Mess building detailed sections    

Two new buildings – a big-span machinery store and staff facilities – were created at the National Arboretum, using timber grown on the estate.

Westonbirt Arboretum commissioned Invisible Studio to build two new buildings: a larger tree management centre, which is a machinery store; and a smaller welfare facility for the tree team. Invisible Studio particularly wanted to use the timber from the arboretum as the client had never used this resource for building; for the big building, the practice wanted to find a way to use the Corsican pine trees in their entire 20m lengths rather than milling them down into smaller lengths. Thus the larger building was built around the idea of constructing big trusses.

The smaller building is one simple main space, picking up to the south, with a crank in the roof to let the winter sun into the yard. The mess building, though of a different scale, also benefited from the timber readily available on the woodland site. It has been clad in oak, felled as part of the arboretum’s tree management of its Silk Wood coppice. Its location was determined by the surrounding trees beneath which it nestles. Inside it is simple, with just two rooms and a loft storage space, all lined in plywood.

The engineering objective for the design of these buildings was to make efficient use of timber from the arboretum, with all processing taking place on site to minimise transport and processing costs.


  • Begun: Apr 2015
  • Completed: Mar 2016
  • Floor area: 600m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £610,000
  • Procurement: JCT Intermediate
  • Address: Westonbirt, Tetbury, GL8 8QS, United Kingdom

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