If a National Lottery application is successful, a new £30m architectural landmark will transform a once-thriving town on the Clyde coast.

The Ailsa Craig Centre will be built on the shoreline at Girvan, Ayrshire, overlooking the notable rock that rises more than 1000ft from the sea and is home to colonies of birds as well as the rock that makes curling stones.

The distinctive centre, designed by Scottish architect John McAslan, will make the centre a visitor attraction for tourists as well as nature lovers if it is built on a site near the town's harbour, replacing a derelict pavilion.

With its series of sloped steel roofs, Mr McAslan hopes the building will become an iconic centre, its curved form an extension of the coastal landscape on which it is built as well as a perfect view of the 500 million-year-old rock.

To be built under the control of Girvan Community Developments, in partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the landmark will also include a wind turbine to power its electricity and a new boat service to ferry visitors to the island, which is 12 miles off the coast. The final document applying for lottery funding was delivered this week.

Cameras on the island - nicknamed Paddy's Milestone - will relay images back to the building and show visitors images of the birds that nest there, including the more than 40,000 pairs of gannets.

Ailsa Craig, which is the stump of an extinct volcano, is also home to black guillemots, fulmars, lesser black-backed gulls, kittiwakes and razorbills, all of which will be studied, and explained, at the centre, which will have an "interpretation centre" designed by architect Ralph Applebaum.

Mr Applebaum was involved in the design of the Clinton presidential library and museum in Arkansas, the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the World Music Gallery in London and the multi-award winning Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. He is also working on the major refurbishment of the Royal Museum in Edinburgh.

It is forecast the project could become as successful as the award-winning Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick, East Lothian, which has attracted more than a million visitors in the past seven years.

Mr McAslan, who said the building would be completed by 2010 if the bid was successful, said: "We hope people will come to Girvan not just for the link to Ailsa Craig but also for the building itself. It needs to be a transformative building in that sense for the town.

"The bid to the lottery is now in and we are one of five projects bidding for money. We find out in September, and we just have to be hopeful.

"The building has been designed so that it looks like it is almost rising from the beach, like sandbanks or mounds of pebbles.

"We are hopeful because this is essentially a regenerative project for the town. We haven't purposely made an iconic building like Bilbao Frank Gehry's famous Gug-genheim Museum but the project needed a singular vision, and a singular vision like this is what Girvan needs. I think it could attract 500,000 visitors a year and be a magnet for the Ayrshire coast. It is not a great deal of money to help transform a town - it would pay itself back within ten years."

It was from Ailsa Craig rock that the stones used by the Scottish women's curling team, the 2002 Olympic gold medal winners, were made.

The island is now uninhabited. Its lighthouse was automated in the 1970s and the granite quarry has been disused for a generation.

The RSPB has managed Ailsa Craig since March 2004, when it reached an agreement with the Marquis of Ailsa.