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Competition: Hook Lighthouse visitor attraction

Hook Heritage has launched an international design competition for a landmark visitor attraction close to Hook Lighthouse in Ireland, the world’s oldest operating lighthouse (Deadline: 8 February)

Open to multidisciplinary teams, the contest seeks ‘fun, engaging and informative’ proposals to boost visitor numbers at Hook Head, County Wexford, in the south-east of Ireland.

The winning scheme will be constructed near to the lighthouse, which was first constructed in 1172 and was operated by monks from a nearby monastery until the mid-17th century.



Source: Image by Andrew Sykes Photography

Hook Lighthouse

According to the brief: ‘Hook Heritage is looking for an inspiring, compelling tourism proposition worthy of gracing this iconic, landmark location in Ireland. It must be a world-class concept that delivers the potential of the site whilst reflecting its history and location.

‘The planned development must be grounded within the Fáilte Ireland brand Ireland’s Ancient East, which is built upon nine separate stories: ancient Ireland, big houses and hard times, castles and conquests, maritime gateway, high kings and heroes, sacred Ireland, Vikings, sport of kings and mystical waterway.’

The 35m-tall limestone tower was originally built by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, to protect ships entering nearby Waterford Harbour.

The four-storey medieval tower features walls up to 4m thick, and was converted to electric power in 1972 before being fully automated 20 years ago.

The remote rural site, which became a visitor centre in 2001, is home to a gift shop, a café serving speciality seafood, the old lighthouse keepers’ cottages and several observation towers.

Activities on the site, which receives around 210,000 visitors every year, include guided tours of the lighthouse alongside arts and crafts workshops and classes. The complex also features a picnic area, coastguard display, exhibition room, toilets, car park and pirate ship.

Submissions for the new attraction should include a conceptual design, cost plan, project programme, financial projections and stakeholder management strategy.

Applicants must have strong project management skills and experience of delivering similar heritage tourism concepts. Three examples of previous projects should be provided.

How to apply


The deadline for applications is noon, 8 February.

Contact details

Ross McCarthy
Hook Heritage
Fethard on Sea
New Ross

Tel: +353 857132514

View the contract notice for more information

i360 case study: Q&A with David Marks

The co-founder of Marks Barfield Architects discusses lessons learned design a viewing platform for Brighton, England

How did your i360 project create a new landmark tourist attraction for Brighton seafront?

The West Pier opened 150 years ago, designed by Eugenius Birch as a promenade pier to grace Brighton beach. At its opening it was described as ‘a kind of butterfly to carry visitors upon its wings and waft them among the balmy breezes of Brighton’. Later English Heritage called it ‘the finest pleasure pier ever built’.

Brighton, England

Brighton, England

Source: Image by Visual Air

i360 by Marks Barfield Architects

Tragically, after more than a century of giving pleasure to Brighton and Hove’s residents and visitors, the pier fell into disrepair. It closed to the public in 1975, and in 2003 was devastated by fire.

In 2005 the West Pier Trust entered into a development agreement with Brighton i360, a new company formed by Marks Barfield Architects, under which the company would construct a modern-day vertical pier at the landward end of the ruined pier. Brighton & Hove City Council gave it planning permission in 2006.

It took a further 10 years and the expertise of hundreds of people from across Europe to turn the concept into reality. Today, just as the original pier welcomed Victorian society to ‘walk on water’, British Airways i360 invites visitors to gain a new perspective on the city and to ‘walk on air’.

Brighton, England

Brighton, England

i360 by Marks Barfield Architects

Which architectural, material and business considerations are important when designing coastal visitor attractions such as these?

Architectural: a clear understanding of the site, its context and its heritage

Material: an understanding of coastal environment, wind and a careful selection of robust materials to resist oxidisation and corrosion

Business: clear understanding of visitor numbers, seasonality and peak demand to determine capacity

What advice would you have to participants on designing a new landmark for Hook in Ireland?

Surprise and delight; don’t be afraid to shock and amaze.

Brighton, England

Brighton, England

Source: Image by British Airways i360

i360 by Marks Barfield Architects