Accoya wood decking and seating has been installed at Caernarfon Castle in Wales as part of a £5 million conservation and development project. The project has granted visitors access to areas of the medieval gatehouse at Caernarfon Castle for the first time in centuries.
Situated on the banks of the River Seiont in north west Wales, the renowned Caernarfon Castle forms part of the fabric of Welsh history and was given World Heritage Site status in 1986 – Wales’ first.
The project has seen the installation of a rooftop deck, new flooring in the gatehouse towers and the fitting of a lift that allows access to areas of the upper battlements.
Aiming to shine a light on the castle’s rich history, and also add a new contemporary layer to the story, the architectural interventions have been designed to seamlessly fit in with the castle’s aesthetics. The choice of materials was an essential consideration in this.
Buttress Architects led the project and specified Accoya wood to craft the new viewing deck and seating areas. The wood has similar tones to the castle’s original masonry and will, in time, have a weathered effect, tying in with the overall look and feel of the castle.
These new seating areas have been created to be physically separate from the castle walls. The idea is to ensure that the interventions have minimal impact on the castle’s existing structure and can be easily removed.
Lucy Ashcroft, senior architect at Buttress and lead architect on the project said: “We worked closely with Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government, who invested a huge amount of money to ensure that the castle is welcoming and accessible and continues to make a valuable contribution to the economy of the surrounding area.
“One of the greatest things about this project is that it’s not a single piece of architectural design; it’s a collection of interventions that create experiences and improves the facilities for all visitors within the King’s Gate. We’ve achieved this by ensuring our interventions slot into the castle’s story, in a contemporary way, with the castle acting as the main character.
“Choosing the right materials to carry this off was essential. We wanted to create something that would complement the existing structure, both aesthetically and functionally. Accoya is incredibly durable and requires little maintenance, so staff can focus on delivering an enjoyable guest experience, rather than worrying about maintenance work. On top of this, the colour and the weathering effect of Accoya complements the original features of the castle perfectly, while adding a modern twist.”
Justin Peckham, Head of Sales UK&I, at Accsys, added: “When we work with architects, they choose Accoya for multiple reasons from durability and stability to aesthetics – all of which were key qualities to Buttress. Its team understood the impact that this place has on the local community and was keen that every decision made reflected both its history and its future. This included material choice and by choosing Accoya, they were able to use a material that sits in harmony with the castle’s fascinating history and sense of place.”