GPW: National Trust Visitor Centre at Portstewart Strand

April 6, 2011 at 11:46 am Project of the Week: 4/04/11
National Trust Visitor Centre at Portstewart Strand
County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK

Year: 2009
Owner: National Trust
Location: County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Extensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 4,306 sq.ft.  
Slope: 15%
Access: Inaccessible, Open to the Public

Project Description & Details

The National Trust is Northern Ireland’s largest conservation charity and the Portstewart Strand, nestled amongst a two mile stretch of award winning beach and sand dunes, has been designated an Area of Special Scientific Interest and a proposed Special Area of Conservation. Meeting the highest environmental standards, the new  National Trust Visitor Centre at Portstewart Strand is designed to maximize energy from natural light and the structure was constructed with cedar panels from renewable sources and includes a greenroof; the vegetation and the timber will weather naturally to blend in with the landscape.

Donnelly O’Neill Architects of Belfast were challenged with a design brief that was strict in its requirement. The roof needed to be sympathetic to its surroundings and in keeping with the environmental ethos upheld by the National Trust, while the exposed location of the centre also presented the problem of wind erosion.  Alumasc was able to provide a complete waterproofing and  ZinCo greenroof package that not only met the technical specifications, but which has also provided a valuable resource for local wildlife that will continue to flourish over time. It is expected that the grasses that cover the sand dunes will propagate the sedum roof over time, blurring land and roofscape even more.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Greenroof System: ZinCo
Roofing Specialist:  Alumasc
Architect: Donnelly O’Neill Architects
Main Contractor: David Patton and Sons
Approved Installer: Willart Roofing
Pre-vegetated Sedum Mat: Sempergreen

Sustainability is also key and in accordance with the Trust’s policy of managed coastline retreat, the facility, which is built on sand, is demountable, so it can be relocated with minimal impact.  As a result, its usable life will be longer than normal.

“The National Trust, in looking after special places, for ever for everyone, invests in places like Portstewart Strand to ensure members and visitors have amazing experiences and the opportunity to enjoy our special places.” ~ Hilary McGrady, The National Trust’s Director for Northern Ireland

Isn’t it cool how no matter the season and the light in these photos that the greenroofs’ colors blend into the site almost seamlessly?

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click  here to see more information about this project in  The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours  here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.