Victoria Square block redevlopment

Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby Starch » Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:26 pm

Initially I was quite concerned about this development.....I don't think the renders did it any justice (magnolia tiles and palm trees!) ....but I was just up in the city last weekend and was pleasantly surprised by the impact and scale of this project ..... I think the centre really needed a coherent all encompassing scheme for this part of the city...even if there is a bit of mock work being done and that some of the quality of the architecture is not revolutionary, there is alot to be said about stitching up the city.....and if you could see the state of the this part of belfast(even as a construction site) and as it was .....I think you would agree

from the development website
http://www.victoriasquare.com/3d_clips/ 3d Video clips
http://www.victoriasquare.com/image_gallery/ Image gallery
http://www.victoriasquare.com/construction/ Construction gallery

My pics from the weekend
http://www.flickr.com/photos/33058298@N00/sets/72157601576780569/
This gives a good idea of the extent of the redevelopment - as bit of context top left hand corner you can just make out city hall
Image
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby Starch » Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:06 pm

cool timelapse video of the contruction of the huge dome at victoria square.... http://www.victoriasquare.com/construction/ it looks good
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Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby Sauchiehall » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:02 pm

Victoria Square now completed.
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby Sauchiehall » Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:20 pm

I'm surprised this hasn't generated more discussion. If it were the centre of Dublin, it surely would. Three blocks in the heart of the city, almost completely redeveloped in a dense, mixed-use scheme. Some aspects of the urban design are interesting: it's all firmly in the public realm; these are city streets, not a gated suburban mall. It also seems to provide an important link between the main shopping area and Laganside. It would've been nice to integrate Telfair Street...... It also would've been nice to see more apartments, but perhaps the market just isn't there. However, it's an approach to large-scale urban development Ireland hasn't seen before, and I'm struggling to think of a precedent in England, Scotland or Wales...
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby GregF » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:37 pm

Great addition for the city of Belfast. Hope the folk up there like it.
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby Starch » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:16 pm

[quote="Sauchiehall"]I'm surprised this hasn't generated more discussion. If it were the centre of Dublin, it surely would. QUOTE]

oh I'm not going to say anything!
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby jdivision » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:21 pm

I think it's partially because it's hard to judge something so vast until you visit it. I couldn't make the launch unfortunately but looked like great fun
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby BTH » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:36 pm

Its visually very impressive, relates brilliantly to it's surroundings and has a very good level of finish and materials... But it's VERY confusing as a shopping centre. The circulation patterns are all over the place and the escalators are in prime position to cause as much congestion as possible. I actually liked the slight madness of the place - it's definitely a real urban experience rather than an anodyne mall - but I wonder how it will fare with the ordinary shopper...
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby Starch » Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:24 pm

To give you an idea of the scale of this thing it's added 25% more retail space to the whole of central Belfast

Also, the city council haven't touched the pedestrianied streets and main footpaths for years (well apart from digging them up and filling them with tarmac) but now they're running a scheme called 'streets ahead' and it looks like they're going to pave, add new lighting, furniture, trees, art etc to large swathes of the centre in a matter of months?....honestly wait for a bus.... :rolleyes:
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby PVC King » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:30 pm

From what I have heard comment wise the retailers are doing the numbers anticipated.

A further piece of the jigsaw falls into place
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby Starch » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:54 pm

on that lost photo above, the one on the corner with the little squares of grass which got relandscaped just this year... you remember there used to be two security bunkers and gates there..... ? hmmm it is great to see the city shaking itself alive :) .....just got back from Belfast.... if anybody is planning a trip to I recommend spending a lazy day up at Queen's ....
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby ctesiphon » Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:42 pm

Starch wrote:
Sauchiehall wrote:I'm surprised this hasn't generated more discussion. If it were the centre of Dublin, it surely would.


oh I'm not going to say anything!


How come your sentiment reads like a criticism of Dubliners rather than a criticism of Belfasters, Sauchiehall?

If it were in the centre of Dublin it probably would have generated more discussion, yes, but only because many of us on this site seem to live/work in Dublin and are therefore more familiar with the development landscape here than elsewhere. Why we should or how we could be keeping as close an eye on Belfast (a city not even within this state) is beyond me. Belfast is as familiar to me as London or Manchester, no more than that.

(The 'Dublin-centric' nature of Archiseek has been criticised before, most memoraby by PDLL [the late lamented], and my response then was the same as it is now- there's nothing stopping anyone from any other corner of the country and further afield getting stuck in here- a significant portion of the blame for a lack of discussion beyond Dublin must therefore surely rest with people from those locations, not with Dubliners.)

Having said that, all the evidence we have to go on is the images above, and I've never yet met an architect who said 'Oh you've seen the pictures? Then you should be in a position to comment on my masterwork.'

When I'm next in Belfast, I'll have a look. In the meantime I'll hold my tongue. Sorry to disappoint.
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby Starch » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:01 pm

In fairness ctesiphon I'm not from Belfast or Dublin - I studied in Belfast for 3 years, I've spent more time in Kazakhstan than Dublin, but I still have an interest in Dublin... I MAKE AN EFFORT to read and look at things (yes on the web) but that doesn't stop me from commenting on Dublin topics on archiseek.....so therefore I think that the opinion that a "significant portion of the blame for a lack of discussion beyond Dublin must therefore surely rest with people from those locations, not with Dubliners" is hmm bull.

As for your comment about it being in a different state....it's not as if Northern Ireland is floating adrift somewhere in the pacific....we all have the same issues no matter what nationality, race, religion. Architecture / urbanism / design shouldn't conform to these boundaries....nor should it restrict discussion
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Enthusiasm for open debate on urban design in Belfast

Postby Sauchiehall » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:54 pm

**This is a separate issue, strictly. If anyone wishes to comment further on open debate on urban design in Belfast, perhaps they should start a new thread.**

I would like, for a moment, to set aside the issue of the place(s) with which Archiseek members are most familiar.

I am trying to encourage debate on regeneration etc. in Belfast. I suspect that a shortage in the number of people in Belfast with an enthusiasm for making comment on urban design may be the most significant reason for a lack of comment on Victoria Square. I am not so familiar with the Belfast "architectural scene", though I know the city well, so I may be wrong: this post may inspire comment on Victoria Square from more Belfast-based members... I very much hope it does. My view comes from once having heard someone in Belfast express disappointment that their efforts to drum up discussion and debate on urban design and architecture in that city resulted in little comment. The person in question was from Belfast, in case you wonder! I admit that one comment is a very limited basis on which to form such a view, so I am open to being convinced otherwise (...on another thread!). However... Compare: I understand that the population of the Belfast commuter region is not so different from that of Dublin; Belfast, like Dublin, has two architecture schools; I am not aware that Belfast has a local architectural discussion website and, even if it did, it would be a great shame if such a website were to supplant the Ireland-wide Archiseek as the primary place for online discussion on architectural issues relating to Belfast.

And back to the location of Archseek’s membership. Thinking back, I do remember debating the merits of urban design projects in other towns, cities and countries long before visiting them. It is very true, I couldn't "judge" them before visiting, but I was interested. Debate and comment are good! But perhaps I'm just too enthusiastic about all this? On first visiting Archiseek, it was clear to me that there is more discussion on Dublin than on Belfast. If more members are based in Dublin, then this is another reason for a lack of comment on Victoria Square. It is natural, of course, that someone will be more inclined to comment on an issue on their doorstep than something at a distance they not have seen.

I cited Dublin as an example because, by comparison, debate on architecture seems open, enthusiastic and plentiful in Dublin. I trust all the above helps readers understand my point.

I am surprised Victoria Square hasn't generated more discussion. If it were the centre of Glasgow, Cardiff or Manchester, it surely would?
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Re: Victoria Square block redevlopment

Postby johnglas » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:14 pm

Well, to add in my penny's worth, being also neither from Dublin nor Belfast, but knowing both reasonably well...
You cannot judge an architectural project from the photos or drawings (what some people will insist on calling 'renders'). You need to go and see it, walk through it , use it. So, I can't comment on Victoria Square (which I first saw over 40 years ago) in any absolute sense, but it looks to have pressed all the right buttons for a city centre mixed-use scheme; critically. it has retained some pattern of streets (although the original VS was an elongated triangle), although these may be private space masquerading as public space (try having a political demo there, or skateboarding).
Compared to Dublin, Belfast is hopelessly provincial (although some might so regard Dublin) and is about half the size in population terms (depending as always where you draw the boundaries) and, in spite of brave attempts at pretending, it is not a capital. But any development that obliterates the memory of 'security barriers' gets my vote!
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Re: Victoria Square block redevelopment

Postby Sauchiehall » Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:10 am

"BDP and Multi Development UK's Victoria Square in Belfast should be looked at seriously by all concerned with city centres and public space. And while we're at it, why not get architecture students to go over there and figure out why it works so well?"
Mario Sua Kay, Lisbon, Portugal.
Letters page. Architect's Journal. Vol.227, No.24, 19th June 2008, pub. Emap Inform, p.24.
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