Highlands & Islands

Concept of St Kilda centre on Isle of Lewis unveiled

Illustration of proposed new St Kilda visitor centre Image copyright Reiulf Ramstad Architects/Dualchas
Image caption Architects in Norway and Scotland worked on the design of the centre, Ionad Hiort

A proposed design for a visitor centre dedicated to the history, wildlife and geology of St Kilda has been unveiled.

The building is to be constructed at a cliff-top site at Mangersta in Uig on Lewis - about 41 miles (66km) east of the remote archipelago.

Building on St Kilda's main island, Hirta, was ruled out because bad weather can restrict access to the small group of isles.

St Kilda is also a protected Unesco World Heritage site.

Islanders abandoned the archipelago in 1930, and today Hirta is only occupied for a few months of the year by National Trust for Scotland staff and volunteers, scientists and Ministry of Defence contractors who operate a rocket testing radar.

Image copyright Reiulf Ramstad Architects/Dualchas
Image caption The centre could be open by 2020

Norwegian firm Reiulf Ramstad Architects and Scottish architects Dualchas collaborated on the design of the centre, which will be called Ionad Hiort.

The practices won an architectural masterplan competition set earlier this by Ionad Hiort Ltd, the charitable company hoping to open the centre by 2020.

Dualchas architect Ruaraidh Flyn said: "It is an inspiring project and site.

"Our proposals are site specific and influenced by the extreme climatic and locational conditions.

"The new centre has to be a world-class project and will provide a focal point for the regeneration of an existing island community, capturing and interpreting the story of St Kilda, whilst providing an experience of Hebridean culture and landscape."

Iain Buchanan, chairman of Ionad Hiort, said: "The architects have given us a lot of food for thought with their vision of how the site could be developed.

"However, these are not the plans for the centre. Before we get to that stage, there will be a competitive tendering process and extensive consultation".

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