With tourists expecting higher levels of service, information and retail opportunities, visitor centres have become a vital component in providing access to heritage sites, historic buildings, landscapes of natural beauty and monuments.
As a consequence, numerous architecturally renowned centres have been designed and built in recent years.
It is perhaps no surprise that many have been featured in architectural awards, as they not only offer a `jewel' of a project to architects, being small in scale but high in profile, but the buildings must also respond sympathetically to a rich physical and cultural context.
This book examines the phenomenon of this relatively new, but increasingly popular, building type. It begins with a series of essays which explore the origins and key characteristics of the visitor centre, its relationship between place and landscape, its social role, and its focus on the visitor's needs.
It then documents and critically analyses 20 award-winning visitor centres across the United Kingdom, including centres at The Giant's Causeway, Stonehenge, Brockholes, Rosslyn Chapel, Culloden and the Welney Wetland Centre.
Each building study is beautifully illustrated with photographs and architectural drawings andincludes the essential facts about the building, an experiential descriptionand a full spatial analysis.