- Interpretive Planning
- Stakeholder Consultation
- Interpretive Design
- Interpretive Writing
- Project & Build Management
Cadw's ambition for Harlech Castle is to create one of the most dramatic, imaginitive and inspiring historic visitor attractions in Wales.”
The story of Harlech is all about power, muscle and dominance. It rises from near vertical cliffs against the mountainous backdrop of Snowdonia. It saw wars and sieges. A Welsh Prince held court here for four years against the English. It has done everything that castles are meant to do. The interpretation reflects the castle’s story but also reflects the lives of the people who lived in it, or were affected by it. Through the interpretation we create a desire for exploration and discovery; engender surprise and the unexpected; showcase its story and heritage; and deliver fun and engagement.
The foundation of the project has been the preparation of a detailed interpretation plan which included public and stakeholder consultation. This allowed the stories of Harlech to be re-positioned for the family market and positioned in the context of pan-wales interpretation and other associated strategies.
The vision for the castle is bold - creating a 21st century attraction including new visitor centre, external interpretation, exhibitions, and the unique re-development of the Gatehouse.
We have taken a sculptural and dramatic approach, trying to capture the mood and spirit of the place and its people. Exhibitions include innovative use of film and audio, combined with dramatic presentation of weaponry and original artefacts. This is linked to interpretation and sculpture around the site creating a cohesive and integrated feel.
Visitors are encouraged to explore the whole site through an interactive family trail ‘Attack and Defend’ which puts you in the shoes of those who lived, fought and died at Harlech; and uncovers the architecture that still dominates today. External interpretation proposals include a number of interactive sculptures, external exhibition space, seating, graphic panels and a dynamic soundscape in the entrance passage or ‘kill zone’.
Concept design work has been undertaken to inhabit the spaces in the large Gatehouse that has been ruined since the Civil War. This key building is being developed by Cadw with conservation architects to re-instate roof, floors and windows. Our work is to bring these spaces to life through audio visual and sculptural interventions that tell stories that include the court of Owain Glyndr, the work of master mason James Saint George and links to Welsh legend of The Mabinogion.
Harlech Castle represents one of the finest examples of late 13th and early 14th century military architecture andforms part of the ‘Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd’ World Heritage Site.