Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre

Client
National Trust

Status
2014

Scope
Signage & Wayfinding


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The Giant’s Causeway, UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. Owned and managed by the National Trust, the site boasts a fantastic visitor centre designed by Henegen Peng Architects. Thomas.Matthews were commissioned by the National Trust to review and re-design the signage and wayfinding across the site.

The visitor centre was inspired by the local landscape: coastline formed by hexagonal basalt stones, agricultural landscapes and cliff-side walks. Utilising the large difference in level across the site, two folds are created in the landscape, in which the visitor centre fits elegantly to greet half a million annual visitors. Thomas.Matthews were asked to review the site-wide signage after the original strategy struggled to deal with the destination’s particular needs.

The project included: consultation of multiple site stakeholders; analysis of existing signage & wayfinding issues – particularly traffic and people flow, and legibility; appropriate re-design of the signage strategy and touch points that respected the elegant architecture. This was all considered in the context of developing design solutions that were cost-effective and sustainable both in terms of manufacture as well as durable within the harsh marine environment.

Our re-design is based on strong, rugged forms, like the pillars of basalt, that work on the rhomboid grid of the building. Colour ways are chosen to reflect the landscape: the green and grey of grass and rock. External solutions included totems that were designed for maximum legibility and longevity, that are flexible if changes are required, and materially robust. Internal solutions ensured no damage to the materiality of the building, yet created clear, hazard free navigation and people flow.

It was a real opportunity to work in such a magnificent landscape and with such a great client team – especially when it came to tea-time and scones!

Having completed this project we were asked to design a new visual identity for the Causeway hotel.

The Giant’s Causeway is a unique natural experience not to be missed, and with our signage in place, we hope that it will now be even easier to find your way around, when you get there.

Photography by Jill Tate