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New Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre

contributed by 323 World Architecture Festival , 9 June 2009

 

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Description New Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre:

The Cliffs of Moher are a world-renowned tourist attraction, recognised internationally as an icon of Irish tourism. The new Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, set into the barren landscape of West Clare, Ireland replaces a series of ad-hoc Visitor facility buildings that serves the 900,000 visitors to the site annually. The cliff-top site is elevated over 200m above the bordering great Atlantic Ocean and is severely exposed to predominantly south-westerly gales. With the exception of the O’Brien’s Tower to the north of the Visitor Centre site there are no other buildings in the immediate area. In addition to the enhanced facilities to be provided within the new Visitor Centre, the scheme also included substantial external and landscape works including the removal of all on-site car parking and the reinstatement of soft landscaped areas. It is a unique and special site that required special care and attention.

Scheme Design:
Given the unique and sensitive nature of the site, the key design priority was that existing landscape and organic forms should take precedence over any building to be located there. We also believed that the development should not compete with, nor distract from the natural attraction of the ‘Cliffs’ themselves. With this intent in mind, the project was developed on the concept of a subterranean building, taking its design and influences from the natural materials and forms of the area in order to minimise its impact and footprint in its visually prominent rural landscape setting. The resultant building has no façades as such, with the exception of the south facing ‘elevation’, where only the entrance doorway and the organic forms of the upper restaurant windows are expressed. The main entrance is located on the pedestrian concourse at the start of the cliff walkway and has been discreetly set into the remodelled landscape so that it is only visible immediately upon approach.

Accommodation and Access
The Visitors' Centre has been designed over two levels, with direct access to and from the cliffs possible from both. The Entrance Foyer and the internal circulation routes have low ceiling heights to reinforce the notion of an underground, ‘cave like’ building and to increase the sense of drama when the visitor later enters the nine-meter high and 25m diameter, domed Exhibition Area. Along with the Exhibition Area, an Auditorium (100 seat / 250 standing), Café, Restaurant, Medical Room, Retail Unit, have also been provided.

All Exhibition Areas, Restaurant and public facilities are accessed via a spiralling circulation route (‘the ramp’) which encircles the main Exhibition Area. The ramp provides ‘access for all’ and forms an undisrupted link between ground floor and first floor. A bypass stairway and lift have also been provided for direct access between the two levels of the building.

Photograph byJanice O’Connell - F22 photography

More info: http://www.worldbuildingsdirectory.com/

 

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Information New Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre:

Project function:
Description tags:
WAF,
Address: 
Ireland




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