Stonehenge Exhibition and Visitor Centre by Denton Corker Marshall Architects has won an RIBA South West Award 2014 from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The £6.9m building, named in a prestigious ceremony at City Hall, Bristol, yesterday, takes an Australian aboriginal dictum of ‘touching the earth lightly’ to perch on an archaeological landscape creating a vastly improved visitor experience.

A major part of the £27million Stonehenge Environmental Improvements Programme - the largest capital project ever undertaken by English Heritage - the new visitor building, is 2.1km (1.5 miles) to the west of Stonehenge.

RIBA South West Awards recognise examples of innovative and outstanding new architecture within the region.

Chair of the jury, John Pardey of multiple award-winning John Pardey Architects said of the English Heritage project: "The building follows the concept sketch by the architect Barry Marshall.

"A forest of thin square columns dancing at different angles likes tree trunks, supporting a curvy canopy roof, which has fretted edges like leaves meeting the sky. Spaces are laid out with precise clarity and work fabulously well’.

‘The visitor centre provides an essentially outdoor experience and that is as it should be on this wide Wiltshire landscape’.

RIBA South West regional director Jon Watkins said ‘The RIBA South West Awards always bring out the best in local and national architects across our vast region. It is delightful that Salisbury Plain is a focus for local success and quality this year, and I commend the client and architects for their work in raising the profile of architecture nationally and in Wiltshire’.

RIBA South West Award winners will also be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, which will be announced in June.

The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year will be drawn from the RIBA National Award-winning buildings later in the year.

The full list of the 11 no. RIBA South West Award winners are:

1. Architecture Archive, Somerset (Hugh Strange Architects, London)

2. Lakeshore, Bristol (Ferguson Mann, Bristol)

3. Officers Field, Portland (HTA Design LLP, London)

4. Poole Harbour Second Crossing/Twin Sails Bridge, Poole (Wilkinson Eyre, London)

5. Porthmeor Artist’s Studios & Fishermen’s Cellars, St Ives (Long & Kentish Architects, London)

6. Royal William Yard Staircase, Plymouth (Gillespie Yunnie, Dartington, Devon)

7. Stonehenge Exhibition & Visitor Centre, Wiltshire (Denton Corker Marshall, London)

8. The Exchange, Falmouth University (Burwell Deakins, London)

9. The Lee Building, Bath (Feilden Fowles, London in association with FCB Studios, Bath)

10. The Wilson, Cheltenham Gallery & Museum (Berman Guedes Stretton, London)

11. Westering, Chagford, Devon (Annie Martin Architect, Teignmouth)