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New Temple Complex is recognised as UK’s best timber building

 Thursday, November 23, 2023

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New Temple Complex

‘New Temple Complex’ has been crowned the UK’s best new timber building, having won the Gold Award at the Wood Awards in a ceremony at Carpenters Hall on November 22. The multi-faith community complex, designed by James Gorst Architects for White Eagle Lodge, is a triumph of sustainable design. Located in Hampshire, the New Temple Complex celebrates the natural materiality of the area’s local history to create a forward looking building characterised by peaceful simplicity and serenity.

Open to the public, the building comprises orthogonal, timber-framed pavilions, connected by a cloistered walkway, facing onto a central courtyard garden. Within the complex exists a temple, library, chapels, multi-use community hall, public foyer and catering kitchen.

An ancient pathway runs beside the site, passing clay beds and chalk streams, following a Tudor route used to transport timber from ancient oak forests to the shipbuilding city of Portsmouth. The building makes use of each of these materials, including ash from the nearby New Forest.

Wood Awards

The project is all about a beautiful composition of material and colour

Between engineered timber frames manufactured offsite, facing clay brickwork set within chalk lime mortar, and reuse of concrete from the previous building’s foundations, the New Temple Complex is an exemplar of sustainable design that evokes quiet contemplation and connection to the landscape. New Temple Complex was built by Beard Construction with joinery from Kingsdown Joinery, and the assistance of Quantity Surveyors Jackson Coles. The wood supplier was English Woodlands Timber, while the structural frame was provided by Pacegrade.

The Wood Awards building judges, a team of world-leading professionals led by Jim Greaves of Hopkins Architects, visited all 20 buildings shortlisted in the Wood Awards before deciding the winner, in one of the UK’s most rigorous assessments for any competition.

Having chosen the New Temple Complex as both the ‘Education and Public Sector’ winner and the Gold Award winner, the judges commented:

“On approach, New Temple Complex is a beautiful composition of material and colour. It is a remarkable example of great architecture with many layers, within which timber is used exceptionally well – with meticulous finshes. The glulam domed roof is effortlessly elegant, while the connection to nature is continually considered.”

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