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RIBA launches competition for west Belfast 'fortress'

The RIBA is inviting architect-led design teams to compete to design a £12 million regeneration-focused ‘expo centre’ on the site of a former police station in west Belfast, Northern Ireland

The centre is planned as a place to showcase the district’s regeneration setting a ‘new standard’ in terms of innovation and design. Daniel Libeskind will chair the judging panel.

It will be built on a triangle-shaped site at the junction of Falls Road and Glen Road overlooking a cemetery. Andersontown police barracks previously occupied the land but was demolished in 2005.

The ‘imposing’ fortress featured a watchtower and barbed wire fences. An IRA car bomb exploded in May 1983 at the station causing an estimated £1 million worth of damage.

Alex Attwood, Northern Ireland’s minister for social development, said: ‘We’re looking for a first-rate design that the local community can value and be proud of.

‘I want a building that meets the design brief in a creative way – with flexible spaces for regeneration, the arts and local services and with local people central to the project.’

A five-strong shortlist of teams will be invited to produce designs with each receiving a £6,000 (excluding VAT) honorarium.

Practices with ‘insufficient resources’ are encouraged to team up with a delivery architect, if appropriate.

The deadline for applications is Friday 17 December.

The project is backed by the Northern Ireland Department for Social Development’s Belfast Regeneration Office, West Belfast Partnership Board (WBPB) and PLACE the Architecture & Built Environment Centre.

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