Marks Barfield’s Lightbox opened in September 2007 and won the UK 2008 Arts Fund Prize. It is a new kind of community cultural centre, and Woking’s first museum and gallery.
The aim was to create a gentle landmark and reflect the culture diversity of the town – a jewellery box to contain cultural treasures. Overlapping snakeskin anodised aluminium panels, in 5 shades of gold and silver, spiral up around the building. The cladding pattern, inspired by nature, suggests the lateral line found on fish for balance. The canal side cedar cladding reflects the softer, natural environment.
Marks Barfield wanted to create a low energy building to live up to Woking’s reputation as the UK’s greenest borough. The top lit atrium provides circulation, orientation and display space. Rooflights give natural light and generate electricity using PVs. Dichroic striped glass create spectacular rainbow reflections in the sun. The building is highly insulated and naturally ventilated in all but the main galleries. Hot water comes from the town’s CHP system.