Culloden Visitor Centre

April 16th is the anniversary of the Battle of Culloden. As it happens, 2018 is also the 10 year anniversary of the opening of the visitor centre. Designed by Hoskins Architects and opened in 2008, the building is a beautiful piece of architecture and on a beautiful April weekend, I took the opportunity to re-visit the centre. 

In the course of my work, I have to visit many buildings in and around Inverness, old and new. The quality of the modern architecture rarely matches that of our historic buildings, however this is one of the exceptions. This is one of the best buildings in the Scotland. 

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The Portal Culloden Visitor Centre Gareth Hoskins Architects Inverness

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The building sits low in the landscape and is arranged to create a processional route that leads people into the site of the battlefield.  A fin walls extend out into the landscape aligned with the position that the government forces took up in preparation for the battle. Over 100m long. it gently slopes towards and cuts through the visitor centre to create a contemporary portal that leads into the battlefield. This not only orientates the visitor, it screens the carpark from view, protecting the experience of the battlefield.

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The exhibition spaces Culloden Visitor Centre Hoskins Architects Inverness

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A second fin wall, crosses on axis to anchor the buildings location. On this occasion, X marks the spot. This wall creates a route from the arrival point, through an external portal to the battlefield. This is the only stone wall, constructed in horizontal courses, with advanced stones to create a rough texture.   Between the arms of these fin wall, the visitor facilities. Breaking through the axis is a simple box on the battlefield side for the main exhibition and interpretation spaces. 

The building itself is beautifully detailed and as the silvery grey timber has matured it looks fabulous, even better than when it opened 10 years ago. The perfect solution for an important historic site. Well worth a visit.

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MAAC studio are accredited conservation architects and principal designers working with traditional buildings throughout Scotland. 

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