Bradfield Woods

We were commissioned by Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) to design the structure for a new visitor centre at Bradfield Woods, near Bury St Edmunds.

The new building is single storey and utilised locally felled timber (generally sourced within a 10m radius), for cladding, substructure and superstructure. The felled timbers were used for the framework, the floor deck and framing elements of the building. A small area of clay lump formed the chimney breast.

We worked with the architect to concieve a ‘boat’ to float the building on the shrinkable clay soils. This timber grillage reused the oak timbers sourced for piling, and through designed joints, free of steel connectors, created a rigid oak framework, founded on narrow and shallow rubble filled trenches to support the building.

The project won the RIBA Suffolk Design Award 2012 for Structural Engineering Excellence.