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Yates Associates were appointed to undertake the full detailed design of mechanical, electrical and specialist lighting for a new Visitor Centre located at the gateway to the Lake District, which was named after the Ancient Kingdom of the Dark Ages. The building is unique because it was designed to resemble a lakeland hill making it Europe’s largest grass covered roof.
The construction cost was £22m and was completed on time. The Centre now attracts half a million visitors a year and has won the gold award for Conferencing.
A bank of chillers and air-handling units, cleverly concealed on the roof, provide the source of air-conditioning for the building which is ducted to all areas including an IMAX 70 format screen cinema which features a dramatic journey back in time through 2000 years of Cumbria’s history and mystery, plus the very latest in 3D film technology. The cinema screen was used to light the auditorium, the screen acts as a parabola, and reflects the light back into the seating area during intervals.
This building blends so well into the landscape, and utilizes both old and new materials throughout. The Old Kilns, originally built by the Celts, can be viewed from the Mountain Hall atriem and are floodlit washed during dark hours.