Giants Causeway Visitors Center, Northern Ireland

Finn MacCool erected an unimaginable causeway that defies man’s dimension and the immensity of the sea, crossing it to Scotland. Finisterra - The North Antrim Coast pierces the sea, confronting it with violent scarps that surprise the plateau in its waving movement. Paradoxically, it is in the most vigorous movement that we can find the greatest frailty, as its contours slowly adapt to the persistence of the wind and the onslaughts of the sea. The fold is immediate and frighteningly final. Vertigo - Some buildings that punctuate the cliff have been erected as a reflexion of man transforming desire and capacity, as significant and guiding landmarks, attempting to understand the scarp, the sea and its vastness. It’s that understanding that allows the noble gesture and the magical dream that we repeatedly observe along the shore. The Causeway Coast Experience - We’re interested, in sum, in the strong presence of the site. It is our goal to accentuate the cliff experience as an autonomous and constant value in all of the Causeway Coast. We propose to anticipate the course of the visit, integrating it in the building experience, creating a new dramatic and revealing angle, on the limit of a building-bridge, built at the scale of the cliff. The podium that forms the arrival ramp contains the main public areas and is designed to reveal the underlying material on its walls. The upper floor embodies the vertigo stage, providing visitors a new experience. This floor is settled on the inferior basement, hurling itself in the air, seeking the Giant’s Causeway, twisting to adapt at first and retaking the original alignment afterwards. Finistext - We constantly operate over the territory’s conscience. The local specificity and importance justify, as we understand it, an operation that reflects those characteristics and introduces in the landscape a symbolic and meaningful element. It should be a mirror of the Giant’s Causeway mythological reflection. A mirror of Finn MacCool’s adventure.

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION UIA/UNESCO - 3rd PRIZE

architecture

Pedro Matos Gameiro (coordination), Carlos Crespo, Gonçalo Pinheiro and João Maria Trindade

design team

José Maria Cumbre, Nuno dos Santos, Ana Carina Reis, Bruno Antão, André Rosa, Chiara Ternullo, Adelaide Neves

structures

João Paulo Cardoso - PRPC, engenheiros

landscape

Eva Grillo

project year

2005