Snøhetta appointed as part of the design team for Belfast Stories

After a 12-month competition, led by Belfast City Council and supported by Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Snøhetta has been chosen as part of the integrated design team for Belfast Stories – a unique destination in Northern Ireland set to open by 2029.

As a flagship project of the £850 million Belfast Region City Deal, the appointed consortium will see the 5,000m2 site transformed into a state-of-the-art, interactive, and immersive visitor experience that celebrates the stories of Belfast and provides vibrant social spaces.

The architectural appointment is a partnership between Snøhetta and Belfast-based TODD Architects. Together with TODD, Snøhetta will lead on design, supported by a team of specialists, whilst property and construction consultancy Gleeds has been appointed to oversee project management and design assurance.

The criteria for selection focused on areas such as design approach, regeneration, and sustainability.

A new landmark

Wendy Langham, Programme Director at Belfast Stories, says: “Reaching this important project milestone is a crucial stage in the project, and we are delighted to appoint a consortium that we believe not only has the experience to create a state-of-the-art, city landmark but also shares in the Belfast Stories vision – to create a space for everyone that demonstrates and celebrates the spirit of Belfast. We had an overwhelmingly positive response to the competition which attracted the highest calibre of talent.”

The integrated design team will be tasked with bringing Belfast Stories to life as a landmark destination in Belfast including shared spaces for socialising and learning that will complement the experience, unlocking almost 100 years of heritage at the 1931 art-deco Bank of Ireland site on Royal Avenue. Belfast Stories will also become the focal point for the burgeoning screen industry, a base for film-related organisations, and a home for Northern Ireland Screen’s digital film archive.

It is intended that the site will become the city’s greatest example of a climate resilient building, supporting Belfast’s position as a Top 10 globally sustainable city, according to the 2022 Global Destinations Sustainability Index.

"We are delighted to be appointed alongside TODD Architects and Gleeds to bring this truly transformative landmark project to life. We recognise the building and its adjacent site have the potential to become a bold architectural statement that Belfast can be proud of. We share in Belfast City Council’s vision and collectively offer the insight and experience to create a space that will improve the vibrancy and aesthetic of this part of the city, but we also recognise how excellent architecture can deliver community benefits and have lasting cultural impact," says Robert Greenwood, Partner and Director at Snøhetta.

Belfast Stories will be launching a Stories Network early in 2024. This will be an open forum for everyone to learn more about the project and meet the design team.

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