Like many other European cities, Belfast is in the process of regenerating old industrial areas along the waterfront. The Belfast Waterside development on the east bank signals a revival of Belfast inviting people to repopulate the city and connecting it across the River. Belfast Waterside will fully activate the potential of the River Lagan creating a year-round vibrant community complete with cultural venues, leisure and retail facilities, 750 homes, hotels and office spaces covering 795,000 ft2.
We are designing the new 16-acre masterplan for the Belfast Waterside development drawing on our expertise is designing sustainable urban developments with a strong focus on generous public realms and attractive livable communities.
“We were inspired by this opportunity to bring people and life back to the city of Belfast, not just for work ─ but for round the clock life. From Copenhagen, we have seen that harbors have an enormous potential to activate public life in a city. Our vision is to create an attractive livable community with the River Lagan as a strong driver, no longer creating a barrier in the city but connecting it instead,” says Jacob Kurek, partner at Henning Larsen.
The unique terraced stone landscape of the Giant’s Causeway was a general source of inspiration for the new urban development, from the stepped massing of the buildings, the layout of the terraced landscape areas, to the use of stone and geometric patterns in outdoor surfaces and pavements.
The strategy of positioning of the lower buildings towards the waterfront in the Belfast Waterside development guides winds over buildings instead of through the streets. In the harsh temperate oceanic climate zone of Belfast the approach reduces wind speed prolonging the amount of weeks per year it’s comfortable to spend time outside from the current 9 weeks to an impressive 25 weeks.
“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,” Jacob Kurek says.
Construction of the 1.830.000 ft 2 development begins summer 2018. The project is being developed by Real Estate Developers Swinford Sirocco Limited, who expect the project to be completed in the summer of 2022.