be paris | baumschlager eberle are announced today as the winners of the competition to design a non-denominational reception building that will provide commemorative services for a green burial site to be created at Alne Wood Park, near Alcester. RIBA Competitions managed the selection process on behalf of Warwickshire landowner Felix Dennis - who is working in partnership with registered charity The Heart of England Forest Ltd. - to plant and preserve a large native broadleaf forest in the heart of England. The green burial site seeks to complement this overarching vision via an appropriate development which will provide a reliable source of income, increase rural employment, bio-diversity and public engagement with the landscape.
The Judging Panel consisted of Felix Dennis and David Bliss (Trustees, The Heart of England Forest Ltd.), Colin Shenton (Shenton Group), with Stephen Hodder (Hodder+Partners) acting as the RIBA Architect Adviser.
The selection process was launched in late 2012 with the first stage, which took the form of a short Expression of Interest document together with an A3 sheet outlining preliminary ideas and approach to site/context, attracting ninety-four submissions. be paris | baumschlager eberle were selected from a four strong shortlist which also included (in alphabetical order of design team lead): Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Jonathan Hendry Architects and Rainey Petrie Architecture. The Judging Panel was extremely impressed by the way in which all four teams had developed their preliminary sketch ideas from the first phase of the competition and their careful consideration of the subject matter. The Panel faced a difficult task in selecting a winner from the very varied approaches to design and site context. Panel members felt that the contemporary insertion proposed by the be paris | baumschlager eberle team - whose ‘floating’ grid shell roof sought inspiration from the canopy of an oak tree with a shimmering glass envelope beneath - would complement and meld into the beautiful landscape setting of the Alne Wood burial site. Felix Dennis looks forward to working with the be paris | baumschlager eberle team, the local community and planners to realise the reception building scheme.
David Bliss commented: ‘I am delighted with the feedback we have received so far from local residents and look forward to the continued consultation’.