News / Architecture

Designs for The Scout Association’s new heritage and visitor centre inspired by a colourful “big tent” revealed

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Architect Tate Harmer has unveiled designs for a new heritage and visitor centre for The Scout Association based at Gilwell Park in Chingford in Essex. If Lottery funding is approved the building could open to mark the centenary of Gilwell Park in 2019. The facility aims to become a “celebratory and fun focal point” for the movement and will include an exhibition space that tells the story of founder Robert Baden-Powell and Scouting, a cafe and shop.

The 16,000m2 design was inspired by a “big tent” that will cover the site’s central gathering space and be adorned with the neckerchiefs of Scout troops around the world. At the heart will be a 15m-tall clock and bell tower that will act as a beacon for the centre. The single story buildings that comprise the complex will be constructed using prefabricated, cross laminated timber to blend into the natural setting of the landscape and to align with the “Scouting philosophy of self-reliance and sustainability.”

“The concept is to provide a space for celebration – a place that is rooted in Scouting history, but also looks towards its future. The new Camp Square will be at the beating heart of Gilwell Park and the Scouting movement, and will reflect the energy and diversity of Scouting in the twenty-first century”, says lead architect Jerry Tate of Tate Harmer.

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Tate Harmer: The Scout Association heritage and visitor centre

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Tate Harmer: The Scout Association heritage and visitor centre

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Tate Harmer: The Scout Association heritage and visitor centre

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Tate Harmer: The Scout Association heritage and visitor centre

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Tate Harmer: The Scout Association heritage and visitor centre

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Tate Harmer: The Scout Association heritage and visitor centre