The new visitor’s centre at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland was recently nominated for the Stirling Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Costing £18.5million, the centre was completed in May 2012 and was recognized for its unique and unconventional layout, consisting of an underground complex tucked beneath a grassy hill.
A popular location to visit on Northern Ireland tours, Giant’s Causeway is a notorious hotspot for creative inspiration, becoming the subject of a poem by Irish wordsmith William Hamilton Drummond published in 1811.
The visitor’s centre was designed by Irish architecture firm Heneghan Peng, who moved from New York to Dublin in 2001. The original centre burnt down in 2000, resulting in Giant’s Causeway not having a permanent centre for visitors to use between 2000 and 2012.
Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site, receiving the title from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation in 1986. The landmark consists of 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns originally formed 50 to 60 million years ago as a result of an ancient volcanic eruption. The columns form stepping stones which flow into the sea, and feature alongside objects such as The Giant’s Boot and The Giant’s Harp, shapes which have formed as a result of millions of years of weathering.
Located in County Antrim on the northeast coast, it was also named the fourth greatest natural wonder in the UK in a Radio Times 2005 poll, and is the most popular tourist attraction for the whole of Northern Ireland.