'Tent' pitch wins scouting museum competition

5 January 2017

Architect Tate Harmer has won a competition to design a new Museum of Scouting.

The £6m museum and visitor centre will be located at The Scout Association’s headquarters at Gilwell Park in Chingford, east London, and is regarded as the spiritual home of scouting worldwide as it is the first place where scout leaders were trained in 1919.

It is hoped the new facility will be completed in time to celebrate the centenary in 2019.

The scheme is inspired by the concept of a colourful “Big Tent”. The 1,600 sq m design is centred around a tent festooned with scout neckerchiefs to symbolically represent the various troops on the site and all those across the world.

Made from coated polyester panels, the tent will provide a canopy over the site’s central gathering space at Camp Square and connect to a new, 15m high timber clock and bell tower. This will act as a beacon to guide visitors along a new heritage trail through the site, as well as serving as a stack-effect ventilation chimney for the heritage centre.

Arranged around this structure, new facilities will be built to improve the visitor experience for both day visitors and those staying at the Scout Adventure Centre.

The proposed buildings are single storey and timber clad and will be made from prefabricated, cross-laminated timber to minimise construction time on site. 

Jerry Tate, lead architect at Tate harmer, said: “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 21st century.”

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