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New Snowdon visitor centre unveiled

A new £8.35m visitor centre has been officially unveiled on the summit of Snowdon, North Wales, to replace a building once referred to as "the highest slum in Britain" by the Prince of Wales.

Hafod Eryri, which has been constructed 1,063m (3,488ft) above sea level by Carillion, was designed by architect Ray Hole to withstand a range of extreme conditions, including wind speeds of up to 150mph (241.4kmph) and temperatures of -5 degrees Celsius. Facilities at the new centre, which aims to cater for the 500,000 visitors who climb Snowdon each year, include washrooms, toilets and a restaurant/café, while services also include advice on descent routes and weather information.

Funding for the Haford Eryri project was provided by the Welsh Assembly Government, tourism agency Visit Wales, Snowdonia National Park Authority (SNPA) and the Welsh European Funding Office, as well as the Snowdon Summit Appeal and Snowdon Mountain Railway. According to Hole, the weather provided the toughest challenge for the project, influencing the budget, construction and the practicalities of the new centre, while the design was partly inspired by Clough William Ellis' 'window on the world' concept.

Welsh environment minister, Jane Davidson, said: "It is right that, in the setting of this wonderful national park, the building has a low visual impact, is in harmony with its setting and will improve the experience, understanding and enjoyment of visitors to Snowdonia. "Not only have more than 60 per cent of the materials and labour for the building come from Wales, but parts of the old building were used in the foundations of the new. The curving roof was built to avoid impairing views of the summit."

SNPA chair Caerwyn Roberts added: "Five years ago the Authority decided to commit the equivalent of its entire annual budget to one project, a project located 3,500 feet up at the top of a mountain. "I'm convinced that Hafod Eryri is a building that the whole of Wales will be proud of and a fitting climax as a destination to one of Wales' most important icons."

Image: Ray Hole Architects

A new £8.35m visitor centre has been officially unveiled on the summit of Snowdon, North Wales, to replace a building once referred to as "the highest slum in Britain" by the Prince of Wales. Hafod Eryri, which has been constructed 1,063m (3,488ft) above sea level by Carillion, was designed by architect Ray Hole to withstand a range of extreme conditions, including wind speeds of up to 150mph (241.4kmph) and temperatures
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Company profile: Robert D. Henry Architects + Interiors
Robert D Henry Architects (RDH-Architects) was founded in 1990 in New York City by Bob Henry, known as the “sensuous architect of serenity.”
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