LOUGH BOORA VISITOR CENTRE

 

LOUGH BOORA VISITOR CENTRE

CO.OFFALY
BRADY SHIPMAN MARTIN


Lough Boora Discovery Park, County Offaly, extends to 2,000 hectares of cutaway bog and has been continually developing since 1994 as an amenity parkland since it ceased peat production. It includes a network of over 54 km of paths and trails, connecting a wealth of stunning peatlands and wetlands, and providing walking, cycling, angling, bird watching and photography amenities, and a Sculpture Park.
The Lough Boora Visitor Facility, designed and planned by Brady Shipman Martin, provides a focal point and sense of arrival to the 2000 hectare parklands. The designof the Visitor Centre and parking required a sensitive intervention into the rich and biodiverse landscape of the cutaway bog.
The facility provides car and coach parking, picnic facilities, toilets bicycle hire and café facility. The parking facility comprises a series of small clusters of parking, including one for coaches, arranged along an organic one-way looped access roadway. A linear spine path, made from upcycled railway components is a remnant of the industrial heritage, and provides an attractive and safe pedestrian link from all parts of the carpark, through a natural parkland picnic area, to the visitor building. Low level lighting is included to assist wayfinding.
The carpark is constructed using a range of permeable finishes, with rainwater collected into designed wetlands that feature in and around the picnic areas, and also into a continuous swale around the perimeter of the parking facility. A careful selection of indigenous plant species and native  wildflower mixes, respecting the local ecology, will ensure the long term and appropriate integration of the facility within the wider parklands. Equally, the visitor building is designed to integrate with its natural setting, and is of timber construction and cladding, with high levels of insulation, incorporating a green roof, solar panels, and an ecological waste water treatment system.