Belfast vs Dublin

Belfast vs Dublin

Postby GregF » Mon May 28, 2001 9:45 am

Anyone from the 'south' particularly Dubs feel a bit shameful or embarrassed that Belfast the onetime 'melting pot of bigotry and violence' is surpassing Dublin the supposedly 'party capital of Europe' with the likes of the Waterfront Hall, Odyssey Centre etc....(and well done to them I say!)

[This message has been edited by GregF (edited 28 May 2001).]
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Postby John Callery » Tue May 29, 2001 10:27 am

Yes indeed, Ireland’s two most magnificent contemporary buildings have to be Belfast’s Waterfront Hall (Belfast architects Robinson and Mc Ilwaine ) and the Odyssey Centre ( Belfast architects - Consarc ).

Architecturally Belfast is buzzing and the two above gems are only something Dublin can only wish for Celtic Tiger et al. Plenty of cash down south but so little vision / aspiration to achieve excellence from local authorities, central government and developer alike and very poor client briefs for architects to aspire to. Maybe the next cross border body should be devoted to the sharing of architectural projects of greatness and excellence and off benefit to the public.

Also worth a visit when up north is the Hilton Hotel (note the foyer and “Sonama” raised restaurant overlooking the Lagan and the tastefully designed riverside apartments). Also visit the entrance of Europe’s most bombed building the Europa Hotel and walk around the foyer that was redesigned about 8 years ago and pay a visit to the Gallery Lounge on the 2nd floor. Round of your day in the only bar in Ireland that is a listed heritage site and run by British National Trust the most unique and “snug filled” Crown bar right opposite the Europa. Also, the way Dublin pubs are being destroyed we’ll all have to go to Belfast (to find not only architectural excellence) but to enjoy a jar in a genuine Irish city boozer.
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Postby MG » Tue May 29, 2001 11:21 am

Just a thought:

perhaps community activism such as led by yourself at Kilmainham has resulted in Dublin's lack of comparative buildings.

Just a thought!

[This message has been edited by MG (edited 29 May 2001).]
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Postby Jack » Tue May 29, 2001 11:38 am

To be honest I'm surprised Ulster has anything of architectural merit left in the province, it's had the ass blown out of it 4 ways from Sunday.
Strabane for example has been hit badly over the years.
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Postby deepnote » Tue May 29, 2001 1:23 pm

Belfast also has 4,000 acres of Harland and Wolf property as a potential development zone at the heart of the city. They still have some years to go on their lease, but don't need the land.
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Postby Hugh » Tue May 29, 2001 2:12 pm

Are Waterfront Hall and the Odyssey Centre really such fantastic buildings? I had them down as ok-to-good rather than great, but what do I know - years since I've been to Belfast, and pictures can deceive.

However I greatly like the look of the Marketplace Centre in Armagh by Glenn Howells, a seemingly excellent new modernist centre making interesting use of precast concrete etc - and in an ancient town that had also been bombed to bits. But again - I've not yet been there, I only know Glenn's buildings on mainland UK. Anyone on this list know Armagh and can offer a view?
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Postby John Callery » Tue May 29, 2001 2:35 pm

MG, We are very much aware of the great quality of the excellent architecture that we are so previlaged to have (on all sides) and only wish to protect it from the ordinary the banal and the "run of the mill".

We are also very much aware of the great (architecture and function) of the contemporary Belfast developments and know that what is proposed for us is just not at the races when compared to what has stood here for centuries or what has stood in Belfast for only a few years. The site opposite the Gaol deserves the very best.
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Postby Po » Tue May 29, 2001 2:49 pm

With reference to deepnote's statement in relation to dockland area, take a look at:
http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/finance/2000/0404/fin19.htm

and I'm not sure about who has been appointed to do the masterplan but I found this
http://www.murrayolaoire.com/projects/urban%20design/titanic%20quarter/titanicquarter.html

Level III at QUB have been producing masterplans for the same site for the last
number of years, with one year having their work displayed at RIBA hq.

Another interesting building in the future is Dixon Jones's new Student's Union at QUB.

Architecture in belfast is not buzzing,
still dominated by po-mo pastiche with
cornices and bollards on copings. nasty.

What these 'great' projects have in common is that they've been pumped with lotto
cash. Down here people are angry when 'public money' is spent on capital projects, but if proceeds from the 'stupid tax' was spent they wouldn't feel so aggrieved.
Whatever happens to our lotto cash?
Cayman Islands anyone?

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Postby Jack » Tue May 29, 2001 3:00 pm

Very true about the lotto money, although it is significantly smaller than it's English counterpart, you do wonder where it is? when you look at Derrys new theatre, you can see the real benifit of large scale investment on a quality project.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue May 29, 2001 3:21 pm

"Are Waterfront Hall and the Odyssey Centre really such fantastic buildings? I had them down as ok-to-good rather than great, but what do I know - years since I've been to Belfast, and pictures can deceive."

I think theyre both average large scale developments, in Dublin we dont have the like or similar facilities so there would be a certaijn amount of envy for them as facilities, their sites, and not as buildings. The Odyssey Centre I really dont like at all.


"However I greatly like the look of the Marketplace Centre in Armagh by Glenn Howells, a seemingly excellent new modernist centre making interesting use of precast concrete etc - and in an ancient town that had also been bombed to bits. But again - I've not yet been there, I only know Glenn's buildings on mainland UK. Anyone on this list know Armagh and can offer a view?"

Image

I know Armagh, not too far from Monaghan. The old centre of Armagh has emerged relatively unscathed from the troubles except for the fact it was fairly run down due to the security barriers on the narrow streets. Lots of narrow streets with good stone houses, dominated by the CofI cathedral in the middle, around which the town lies in its shadow. The market square development addresses the town quite well, but its my opinion that urban authorities do these projects much better in N.Ireland than in the Republic.


[This message has been edited by Paul Clerkin (edited 29 May 2001).]
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Postby Hugh » Tue May 29, 2001 3:22 pm

Just checked out the Odyssey Centre website http://www.theodyssey.co.uk
which confirms what I thought: this is just a collection of cliched urban pieces (arena, IMAX, science centre etc) lumped together and packaged in run-of-the-mill commercial architecture by a middle-of-the-road London commercial firm. £91 million, and it could be any city anywhere.

True, it would be nice to have that level of spending elesewhere - preferably better spent. If Odyssey s "great", what adjective do we choose to describe the work of Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, Renzo Piano, Jorn Utzon, Michael Scott...?
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Postby Hugh » Tue May 29, 2001 3:26 pm

So I think that's Odyssey downgraded from "OK to good" to "bad to average" on this long-distance and somewhat subjective survey.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue May 29, 2001 3:29 pm

I would agree, as I said, for most people its a case of "look what facilities they have in Belfast", rather than "look at the lovely new buildings of real architectural merit they have in belfast"

Saying that, I think I'll head up for a few ice hockey games next season.

And I'm going to Belfast in the next few weeks to take photographs for Archeire.com. Any new small buildings, that I shouldn't miss? I don't have a car, so I'm only able to travel by train and its only for the day so anything new and interesting in the city.


[This message has been edited by Paul Clerkin (edited 29 May 2001).]
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue May 29, 2001 3:38 pm

Even the Waterfront Hall is just a large cylindrical building with a magnificent site. Not as interesting to look at as the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester (forget the correct name, was in it for a conference a few years ago). Again a magnificent facility for a city and one that Dublin could do with. The NCH doesnt really compete.

Image

Actually Hugh, the Waterfront is just an update Albert Hall.
http://www.hughpearman.com/articles2/albert.html

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Postby Jack » Tue May 29, 2001 3:39 pm

Just Belfast?
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Postby Jack » Tue May 29, 2001 3:44 pm

mmm..... does anyone like Roche's proposed national conference thinymebob for the docks
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Postby Jack » Tue May 29, 2001 4:00 pm

If you find yourself in Downpatrick, check out the St.Patrick centre, I would post some pictures, but don't know how
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Postby trace » Tue May 29, 2001 4:08 pm

Check out how the Waterfront's surroundings have nosedived since it was completed. Still, it was always meant to be a commercial magnet.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue May 29, 2001 4:15 pm

What kind of commercial activities is it attracting?
Picture have to be on 'net to begin with, then copy the url of the image into tags like this

[img]image%20url%20here[/img]
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Postby Jack » Tue May 29, 2001 4:36 pm

Image

[This message has been edited by Paul Clerkin (edited 29 May 2001).]
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Postby Jack » Tue May 29, 2001 4:44 pm

Eh?........didn't work
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Postby Po » Tue May 29, 2001 5:02 pm

Visit, Mackel and Doherty's school near the gasworks, and their schhool that got a commendation at the aai awards (any sign of the annual book)....

tatu on lisburn road, (might be bit far from city centre)

Ormeau Baths Gallery by Twenty Two over Seven
(could there be a better name for an office)

By the way, Consarc are Belfast not London, and the oddessey is poor, stealing nice features/ ideas from other buildings and managing to make a hash of it....I speak only of the exterior though, i know nothing of its internal spaces.

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Postby Hugh » Tue May 29, 2001 5:23 pm

My mistake, yes: Consarc are a Belfast outfit. The arena bit, however, was by Marshall Haines Barrow of London.

Neither in the premier league, I think.
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Postby Jack » Tue May 29, 2001 5:43 pm

This is the ECOS- millennium environmental centre in Ballymena, Co.Antrim -
They're not the best photoraphs, but they're the best I can do.the bottom ones are models obviously, but you get the idea

Image

Image

Image


[This message has been edited by Paul Clerkin (edited 29 May 2001).]
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Postby Jack » Tue May 29, 2001 5:46 pm

Ye wouldn't fix these ones too Paul?
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