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Furneaux Stewart peaks for centre at Snowdon's summit

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Furneaux Stewart has beaten two other practices to design a new visitor centre at the summit of Snowdon, North Wales.

Snowdonia National Park asked five practices to submit their ideas, but only three accepted the challenge - Furneaux Stewart, the Percy Thomas Partnership and Dallman Johnstone Architects.

The selection process was run by competitive interview, and initial designs have yet to be produced. But Ray Hole, architectural director with the practice, said that sustainability issues and a desire to reduce the impact of the building on the mountain would make the final design 'very interesting'.

There is already a building on Snowdon, currently containing a shop, staff accommodation and a rail terminus for people unable - or unwilling - to walk to the peak. Hole is proposing to adapt the 1920s building rather than replace it, because of the 'logistical challenge' of transporting building materials 1,085m up and down the Welsh mountain.

'Although we're looking at adapting the existing facility, you probably won't recognise it when it's been done, ' said Hole. 'The visual impact of the building on the summit is something we are looking at very closely.'

The practice is expected to submit a report, along with a preliminary design, to the Snowdonia National Park by the end of November. Anthony Hunt Associates has been appointed as the engineer on the project, with services provided by Buro Happold. The Derek Lovejoy Partnership will be tackling landscaping issues.

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