The Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre officially opened on 16th April. The £8m project is the largest construction scheme The National Trust for Scotland has ever undertaken. The centre is designed to help immerse visitors in history and features a special interactive exhibition following a real life character through the years of the Jacobite rebellion. The Practice is proud to have been working with Gareth Hoskins Architects on such a presitgious project and delighted that it was short listed for the 2008 RIBA Awards. It is also one of four Scottish buildings to be shortlisted for the inaugural World Architecture Festival Awards.
The new visitor facilities and exposed landscape setting of the battlefield site provides a stimulating backdrop and brings a historical perspective to the design. A green roof with heather planting suggests the building has risen from beneath the site. The support area nestles behind the long, tapering 'berm wall', has a range of long curved roof sections with rooflights and fully glazed ends offering cafe spill-out areas.
The main structure is a steel frame with timber walls and roof. Sustainability was a key influence in the design and a novel limecrete slab is to be used for the ground floor slab. A full bespoke SUDS drainage scheme was also developed for the project, which due to the proximity of neighbours and large increase in the size of the centre.
The new visitor centre houses an interpretation of the battle, its prehistory and aftermath. It also includes educational and conference facilities, cafe, restaurant, shop and staff accommodation.