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Libeskind and McAdam win Maze Prison peace centre job

Belfast-based McAdam Design with Daniel Libeskind has been appointed to design a £18 million conflict resolution centre on the site of Northern Ireland’s infamous Maze Prison

Still in its ‘early days’, the 4,500m² scheme will be located on the grounds of the jail’s former ‘H-blocks’ which were used to house paramilitaries.

Planned to open in 2015, the scheme is the latest development for the controversial 140 hectare site where a multi-sport stadium bid by HOK failed six years ago.

McAdam defeated five other practices through a local procurement framework to be appointed lead consultant for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister-backed scheme.

The practice’s architectural managing director Martin Hare said he approached Libeskind to join the team because the client was seeking a building of ‘international recognition and presence’.

He said: ‘We recognised immediately that if you were going to do such a requirement you would need someone Northern Ireland would demand and we recognised Daniel Libeskind within the field of conflict resolution as one of the world’s leading architects.’

He added: ‘In order to provide a peace and reconciliation building in Northern Ireland it really does require someone from outside Northern Ireland. If you were a local practice you [would] have been born and brought up in Northern Ireland and have an opinion on Maze.’

He claimed other practices competed on fees but McAdam’s winning offer was the ‘most expensive’.

Last week, London-based Studio Egret West submitted plans for a new 28 hectare headquarters for the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society which will be next to Libeskind and McAdam’s 9.7 hectare scheme.

Together the two projects represent the first phase in the planned regeneration of the County Down plot.

A democracy and conflict resolution scheme in Essex won by Libeskind two years ago has yet to start on site (AJ 12.10.2012).

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