Helping craft the nation’s focus for remembrance

The National Memorial Arboretum (NMA), home of the Armed Forces Memorial in Alrewas, Staffordshire has seen an impressive growth in visitor numbers since opening to the public in 2001. We were commissioned to prepare a masterplan to structure the development of the Arboretum on its existing 150 acres, and to plan for the future expansion. Working with the NMA team we created a masterplan for the existing and proposed arboretum with detailed areas and strategies for key elements including axes/focal points, circulation, vegetation, water, memorials, biodiversity and art. The design is supported by a schedule of materials to ensure continuity of design intent during the phased development.

Using woodland as a framework/backdrop for the tree collection and water as a setting, the masterplan will accommodate development and change as the arboretum grows.

Following Fira’s commission for the masterplan for the National Memorial Arboretum and the new gardens, we were asked to design the landscape for the new visitor centre. As the number of visitors is expected to increase to over 400,000 in the next few years so the facilities for the visitors will need to be improved to cope with this expansion.

The landscape design for the new building introduces the visitor to the Arboretum. The Processional Route leads the visitor from the car park into the visitor centre. The route connects the arboretum with the new architecture and lies on the axis of the Armed Forces Memorial. The scheme is designed to withstand the wide variations in visitor numbers and peaks during specific days of remembrance, allowing easy flow of visitors and intuitive wayfinding.

The building focuses on Heroes’ Square where the paving was designed to incorporate memorial paving flags, and the colour-themed Boyes Gardens act as a transition from the building to the Arboretum leading the visitor to the Millennium Avenue and the Armed Forces Memorial.

As the NMA evolves we continue to support the client on this internationally recognised site ensuring that it continues to be a year round place for remembrance.

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