Finn MacCool erected an unimaginable causeway from which we draw both awe and inspiration. It defies mans dimension and the immensity of the sea, crossing it to Scotland.
One can imagine a causeway of ciclopic dimension covered at leagues stride by the giant in his adventure.
The North Antrim Coast pierces the sea, confronting it with violent and determined scarps that surprise the plateau in its waving movement. From the top of the cliffs we attend two different and opposing realities: of the demure, domesticated and perennial horizontality of the flat and cultivated lands that lay over the abrupt, harsh and upright cliff, constantly changing, conforming the brutal transition between land and sea.
Paradoxically, it is in the most vigorous movement that we can find the greatest frailty, as its contours slowly adapt to the persistence of the wind and the onslaughts of the sea, forming through the ages different accidents and relives in constant recharacterization.
The horizon defines itself in a single stroke, mercilessly, without hesitations.
The fold is immediate and frighteningly final.
Were interested, in sum, in the strong presence of the site. It is our goal to accentuate the cliff experience as an autonomous and constant value in all of the Causeway Coast.
We propose to anticipate the course of the visit, integrating it in the building experience, creating a new dramatic and revealing angle, on the limit of a building-bridge, built at the scale of the cliff, that surveys the cut coast.
The arrival is done through a wood of oak trees that protect from the winds, through slowing paths that hide the topographic fold recognition, until the buildings entry (1). This building will be projected in the sea direction. In the end, over the emptiness, on the ampytheatre, we confront ourselves with the cut coast, at one time, in a way which allows a dramatic understanding and reading of its existence.
Two squares organise the fluxes and courses around the building: the lower square is the visitor arrival and departure nexus, connecting to the upper (institutional) level through a ramp that contains the esplanade patio and to the lower level directly to the commercial area; and the upper square, near the mini-bus base, organizing the Causeway tours, both ways.
The building is constructed according to two distinct models. Of the continuity and of the discontinuity.
The podium that forms the arrival ramp contains the main public areas: the café and retail, where the visitor is expected to pass repeatedly, as he begins or ends the visit to the Causeway, in a way that increases the spaces commercial value, locating it so it is made possible a clearly differentiated prospect of the institutional program, increasing its management flexibility and clarifying its place in the set.
The whole storey is designed as if it was excavated, revealing the underlying material on its walls (2). A pateo on the café northern limit will link to external picnic areas providing light and allowing some control over the esplanade, that will be protected from winds. This pateo is the end of both paths, increasing revenues to the café and stores, therefore its commercial interest.
The retail areas form with the café one linked unit, occupying this levels public area.
In the overlap area with the storey above, one can find the stairs and lift that connect the two levels. The lower and upper lobbies are directly linked, forming a unit connecting the arrival ramp and the Causeway Hotel entrance, promoting coordinated uses between both equipments.
In this storey are also located the technical areas and the security and control house, both with direct external access, allowing any maintenance or repairing operations.