Snowdon Summit Visitor Centre
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Hafod Eryri
Ray Hole Architects

'The Highest Building in the UK'

Snowdon Summit - Café and Visitor Centre

Hafod Eryri, the new building on the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) was formally opened to the public in June 2009. At 1085m this unique visitor centre is the highest building in the UK, responding to one of the most extreme climatic locations in the world. It offers people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to experience a truly stunning environment. The new building is a replacement for the old café which had reached the end of its life. It has been carefully sculpted to optimise the volume and energy requirements, using natural stone from the area to withstand the harsh weather and reduce both its visual and wind signature.

Snowdon summit was only accessible for construction via an existing 100 year old narrow gauge railway (helicopters were ruled out on ground of safety). The extreme weather also meant that the summit could only be reach during the summer months from April to October. Given the logistical complications and relatively small construction window, the building was erected off site in a large warehouse near Shotton, before being carefully dismantled and taken to the summit. This enabled the design team and contractor to effectively test and perfect the construction techniques at sea level so that there were no surprises on the mountain.

Snowdon Summit Café and Visitor Centre images / information from Ray Hole Architects

Snowdon Summit Visitor Centre - Building Information

Materials: granite, welsh slate (from Blaenau Ffestiniog)
Altitude: 1085m
Formal title: Hafod Eryri
Design: architect Ray Hole
Cost: £8.35m
Key feature: the view
Key Detail: “Snowdon’s shape was formed by ice” text written in slate within the granite floor
Unveiled by: First Minister Rhodri Morgan

The original Snowdon Summit Visitor Centre
Sir Clough Williams-Ellis


13 photos and 2 drawings