But will it be worth going to see?

The Belfast Telegraph reports, twice, that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment have announced that over 200 submissions have been received in the competition to design the new Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre. Although as today’s DETI statement points out, they are now running a competition to find an exhibition and interpretative designer who “will be required to collaborate with the winning architect to deliver an integrated design solution for the building.”Apart from the obvious concern of introducing a new designer to collaborate with the winning architect.. I’m disappointed, to say the least, that the opportunity hasn’t been taken to open up the decision beyond the narrow confines of the “international panel of experts under the auspices of the Union of International Architects”.. not to mention the selection panel[?] for the exhibition and interpretative designer.

Here’s an idea.. let the panel of experts pick a short list for the planned Centre from the submissions.. and make the designs available for viewing by the public.. either physically or online.. and get a bit of public reaction before committing to taking it further.. so far, apart from the multi-media downloads avaiable on the DETI website, and some info on the Giant’s Causeway on the Environment and Heritage website here, there doesn’t seem to be any indication of encouraging public involvement.. beyond the final unveiling that is.

Considering that just over 200 firms, from the 480 who had registered for the competition, submitting plans for the Centre – estimated cost of the new facilities £14million – coming up with a short-list of equally valid and impressive designs shouldn’t be too difficult.

That’s assuming the DETI have thought about the need to enthuse the public about this project.