Dublin architect wins Causeway visitor centre commission

A Dublin architect has won an international competition to design a state-of-the-art visitors’ centre for the Giant’s Causeway, it was announced today.

A Dublin architect has won an international competition to design a state-of-the-art visitors’ centre for the Giant’s Causeway, it was announced today.

The planned development is shaped to merge into the natural contours of the breathtaking Co Antrim World Heritage Site.

Roisin Heneghan, of Heneghan Peng Architects, secured the prestigious commission ahead of 200 entrants from as far afield as Japan and Namibia.

The North's Secretary of State Peter Hain unveiled the winning design at Parliament Buildings in Belfast.

Mr Hain said: “This design is a stunning piece of architecture, providing a unique space for visitors from all over the world to appreciate the natural beauty of Northern Ireland’s only world heritage site.

“This project is one of the most important developments for Northern Ireland’s tourism industry in many yars.

“A a signature project of truly international appeal, the new visitors’ centre will significantly enhance the Causeway’s attraction for tourists, and will help Northern Ireland realise its full tourism potential.”

Northern Ireland Tourist Board chairman Tom McGrath hailed the successful entry.

“Having now seen the winning design, I am extremely optimistic that the new visitor facilities will be acclaimed by local and international visitors alike,” he said.

“The design meets the needs of this sensitive World Heritage Site. It also promises to be a state-of-the-art visitor facility which will enhance greatly the visitor experience at the Giant’s Causeway.”

Almost two-thirds of the entries came from outside the UK, including Australia, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, the US and across Europe.

Ms Heneghan won the competition ahead of Riina Palva, of Architectural Verstas, Helsinki, Finland, and Matos Gameiro and Carlos Crespo Arquitectos Lda, Lisbon, Portugal.

Heneghan Peng, which moved to Dublin from New York in 2001, has previously won international design competitions for the Grand Museum of Egypt and Dublin’s Carlisle Pier.

A further separate international competition to select a designer for the interpretation and fitting out of the exhibition area within the new centre is already under way.

It is anticipated the project team will be in place by December to enable work to begin on the detailed design early in the new year.

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