05/07/15 Kent Architects Flying High - Godden Allen Lawn


The designers of an iconic new visitor centre on the Kent coast are celebrating after picking up a major award for the Spitfire-wing shaped building.

Folkestone-based architectural practice Godden Allen Lawn designed the unique building, called The Wing, for the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust at Capel-le-Ferne.

The new building, which houses The Scramble Experience in one ‘wing’ and an education centre in the other, was opened at the end of March by Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

On Friday it hit the headlines again at the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Building Excellence Awards for the Southern Region when it was named ‘Best Small Commercial Building’ against stiff opposition.

The building’s designers were joined at the Brighton event by other members of the project team from The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, Epps Construction Ltd, quantity surveyors Woodley Coles and structural engineers Crofton Design. The building control team was from Dover District Council.

The Wing, which also features a first floor café with unbeatable views across the Channel towards France, has attracted much higher than expected visitor numbers since it opened to the public two days after its Royal opening.

Godden Allen Lawn came up with the Spitfire wing shape as a tribute to the men of the RAF who protected the country from a German invasion in 1940 and whose bravery and sacrifice is celebrated and remembered at the National Memorial to the Few, where the new building is the latest addition.

LABC represents local authority building control teams in England and Wales and works with building owners, home owners, architects, developers, building contractors and other professionals to ensure buildings are safe, healthy, efficient and meet building regulations.

The Wing complements the other elements of the Mermorial at Capel-le-Ferne, including the Christoper Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall, which lists all the RAF aircrew who took part in the Battle of Britain in the summer and early autumn of 1940.

It is home to The Scramble Experience, an interactive, audio-visual exhbition which aims to bring to life the Battle of Britain, and a purpose-built classroom space called The Geoffrey Page Centre, which is also available for meeting and receptions.

The Trust chose 2015 to open the new centre because it coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which will be marked on 12 July at the Trust’s annual Memorial Day event at the Naitonal Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne.

The Wing will now go forward to the LABC Building Excellence national finals later this year.

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