Thiepval Memorial Visitors' Centre 

Somme, France

This was a competition design for the visitor centre to Lutyens' First World War Memorial at Thiepval in Northern France. Set amongst the Somme battlefields, the design was a response to the symbolic power of the site and a counterpoint to the wider landscape.  

The building footprint, lined in white limestone, and the massive white curvilinear walls defining the exhibition hall and seminar space were intended as an abstract reminder of the historic defences dug into the chalky ground below. The linear brick element, formed from the same bricks used by Lutyens for the memorial, would have housed the support spaces and defined the entrance. Oversailing these wall elements a rectangular roof plane mastered the whole and would have been seen from distant views as a floating horizontal plane set against a wooded backdrop.