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Civic sense: Hall McKnight’s transport hub and square in Belfast

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The sculpted, granite-clad terminus building and small public square invest a civic solidity to its suburban site

Sited on the edge of West Belfast next to the busy Stewartstown Road, the small transport hub and associated public square are part of the wider local regeneration of Colin Town Centre. The building’s roofline is shaped to reflect the slope of the hill to the north, with its convex façades designed to invoke a sense of welcome and engagement for those using it. 

Colintown dmc 439

Colintown dmc 439

The building’s solidly constructed double-concrete shell and detailing lends a sense of civic solidity and permanence to its surroundings – and is reflective of a relatively generous budget. The inner shell is tinted a pinkish terracotta colour, emitting a warm glow at night through large red granite-framed punched-out windows.

Colin Town Centre transport hub and town centre won RSUA Building of the Year last month.

Colintown dmc 348

Colintown dmc 348

Architect’s statement

This building and its associated square are the first pieces to emerge from a masterplan that anticipates significant regeneration in an area of West Belfast. While associated with a new city-wide rapid transit project (of which the building is a terminus), the building will act as a focus around which the masterplan will proceed. The local community will have use of the space for events.

Two granite squares define the site plan – a new public square and the building. We adopted this geometry in response to the lack of immediate context as the site was essentially part of an area of problematic ‘no man’s land’ located between two neighbourhoods that reflect Belfast’s historic divisions. A new road marks the southern boundary of the site and provides a turning head for the buses. Given this nebulous physical context, the two squares provided a discipline around which to plan and articulate the programme. The building is carved with curved excisions to the north and west elevations.

The interior of the building is made with in-situ concrete dyed with a red/terracotta coloured pigment evoking the tones of Victorian brickwork that defines Belfast’s historic core (a few miles away). Two windows protrude from the red interior and present to the main public elevations: a tall window to the new public square; and a raised horizontal window to the main road and parkland on the opposite side.

Richard Dougherty, associate, Hall McKnight

Ctc aj 02 floor plan labels

Project data

Start on site November 2017
Completion February 2019
Gross internal floor area 293m²
Gross (internal + external) floor area 2,250m²
Form of contract or procurement route NEC3 ECC Option A
Construction cost £2.38 million
Architect Hall McKnight
Client Department for Infrastructure, Urban Villages NI, Colin Neighbourhood Partnership, Translink
Structural engineer Amey Consulting
M&E consultant BR Design
QS Amey Consulting
Landscape consultant Hall McKnight (concept); Amey Consulting (post-concept)
Project manager Amey Consulting
NEC Project Management Amey Consulting
CDM co-ordinator Amey Consulting
Main contractor FORRME Construction
CAD software used AutoCAD

Ctc aj 03 section aa

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