Henning Larsen Architects has revealed plans for a £400 million development that will transform the waterfront of Belfast. At 16 acres, the master plan constitutes the Northern Irish capital’s largest single ground-up development in recent history.
Known as Belfast Waterside, the plans draw inspiration from the current trend of industrial harbor front site transformations seen in several cities across Europe, in particular the successful models seen in the architects’ home city of Copenhagen.
Located on the east bank of the River Lagan, the 1.7 million-square-foot development will looks to connect the two sides of the river while taking full advantage of the perks of its waterfront site. Inspired by the terraced landscape of Giant’s Causeway, a range of sleek buildings will step down toward the water’s edge, creating a series of inviting public spaces flanked by new cultural venues, entertainment and retail spaces, offices, hotels, and as many as 750 new residences.
“We saw a truly special opportunity in this ambitious project to bring a Nordic understanding of out door living to Belfast. From Copenhagen, we know that harbors have an enormous potential to activate public life in a city,” said Jacob Kurek, partner at Henning Larsen. “We are going to create the framework for people to feel part of a shared public life by River Lagan making it attractive to stay in the city. River Lagan will no longer create a barrier in Belfast but is going to connect it instead.”
As public spaces in the severe temperate oceanic climate zone are typically unoccupiable for the majority of the year, Henning Larsen Architects’ scheme arranges the buildings to create a wind-free microclimate estimated to increase the number of comfortable weeks per year from 9 to 25.
“Analyzing the thermal microclimate we applied an effective scale-gradient strategy to the project. By placing the tallest office buildings along the north, facing the railway, we will create a noise blocking acoustic barrier. The lower buildings facing south keep the riverfront pedestrian friendly and human scaled. At the same time this strategy allows us to ensure river views and good daylight conditions from all buildings,” explains Kurek.
Being developed by Swinford Sirocco Limited, construction is expected to begin summer 2018, with completion by summer 2022.