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Competition: Gosford Forest Park visitor centre

Gosford Forest Park
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Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is recruiting a team to design a visitor centre at Gosford Forest Park in Northern Ireland

The integrated consultancy team chosen for the estimated £191,000 commission will oversee RIBA Stages 0-7 for the creation of a new ‘coherent and impressive’ visitor centre within the 240ha rural visitor attraction, which is around 9.5km southeast of Armagh.

The project is the third phase of improvements to the large country park that surrounds the Grade A-listed Gosford Castle and was designated as Northern Ireland’s first conservation forest in 1986. A new multi-use trail has already been delivered and an adventure playground is due to be installed next year.

In its brief, the council says it vision is for Gosford ‘to become one of the top five forest parks in Northern Ireland providing a five-star, family-focused, forest holiday experience. The council aims to bring in higher footfall, increase tourism and recreation, engagement with the forest and aid education and learning.

‘The design should have a relationship with the immediate and wider landscape. The building should be beautiful and dramatic, yet complementary and sensitive to the setting. It should be bespoke, functional and durable, minimise any impact on the forest and be environmentally friendly and sustainable.’

Gosford Forest Park is a large visitor attraction a short distance from Armagh. The park is the former estate of Gosford Castle which was designed by Thomas Hopper as a home for British politician Archibald Acheson in the early 19th century.

It is one of the top 10 visitor attractions in Northern Ireland and features six listed buildings and seven monuments. The local authority is investing in new facilities to boost footfall and tourism and transform the park into one of Northern Ireland’s top five attractions.

The visitor centre will feature a reception area, exhibition space, café, staffroom, shop, meeting room, offices and an external seating area.

The winning team should include a project manager, architect, landscape architect, civil engineer, structural engineer, traffic engineer, and mechanical and electrical engineer. The team is be expected to be ‘outcome-driven, reliable, innovative and forward-thinking during the construction and delivery phases’.

Bids will be evaluated 70 per cent on quality and 30 per cent on cost. The deadline for applications is midday, 3 December. 

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council
Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre
PO Box 66
Lakeview Road
Craigavon
BT64 1AL

Email: zoe.vennard@armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk

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