Built with sustainability at the forefront of design

Picture shows the Giants Causeway Visitor Centre and coast beyond
Published : 28 Nov 2016 Last update : 11 Sep 2020

The Giant’s Causeway has shaped the imagination and the storytelling of the North Antrim area for centuries so what better way to welcome our visitors and share this rich heritage of folklore and science of this iconic site than through our striking, yet sympathetically designed Visitor Centre.

The centre, which was designed by Irish firm Heneghan Peng Architects , was opened in July 2012 and was designed to blend with the landscape whilst also reflecting the towering basalt columns of the volcanically formed Giant's Causeway.

Construction of the new Visitor Centre in 2011
Construction of the Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre in progress in 2011
Construction of the new Visitor Centre in 2011

The building has been ingeniously engineered with sustainability at the forefront of the design. Almost 5km (3 miles) of pipe runs underneath the car park to provide the centre with ground source heat, and a further 1km (0.6 miles) of pipes, as wide as a meter in places, are also buried underground, drawing in air to cool the centre.

Water is collected from the green roof in an underground tank which is used for the toilets within the centre.

View from the side of the Giants Causeway Visitor Centre's sloping grass roof
Picture shows Giants Causeway Visitor Centre car park and Causeway School beyond
View from the side of the Giants Causeway Visitor Centre's sloping grass roof

Finally, the materials used to build the enormous construction were sourced from a mix of local and recycled materials. The buildings’ striking stone columns were built using Kilrea basalt which was formed from the same lava flow that created the Causeway itself.

And even more astonishingly, the entire build only took 18 months to erect and has been designed to last at least 100 years.

The Visitor Centre's striking stone columns were built using Kilrea basalt which was formed from the same lava flow that created the Causeway itself
The picture shows the entrance to the Giants Causeway Visitor Centre and Causeway Hotel in far distance
The Visitor Centre's striking stone columns were built using Kilrea basalt which was formed from the same lava flow that created the Causeway itself

Visitors can hear all about our fantastic building via the programmes in our audio guides, all read by the popular local actor and star of Game of Thrones, Conleth Hill, all of which is included in our Visitor Experience tickets.

Take a behind-the-scenes virtual tour with our Facilities Manager Brendan Kelly to see some of the sustainable features of this award-winning building: