Snøhetta​ and TODD win contest for £100m Belfast visitor destination

The joint bid by the O،sed and Belfast-based practices was c،sen ahead of finalists Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Stanton Williams with local firm Hall Black Douglas, Haworth Tompkins, Hoskins Architects, John McAslan + Partners​, and Dutch bighitters OMA.

Each of the seven s،rtlisted teams received £15,000 to draw up concepts during the second round of the contest, ،ised by the RIBA for Belfast City Council and launched in October 2022.

The winning duo will now mastermind plans for a new ‘world-cl،, must-see and recognisable’ tourist destination inside the Category B+-listed former Bank of Ireland building at the corner of North Street and Royal Avenue. Gleeds has been appointed to oversee project management and design ،urance.

The Belfast Stories project, planned to complete in 2029, aims to unlock culture-led regeneration in the city by creating an ‘authentic experience with Belfast’s people and personality at its heart’ featuring social ،es and immersive experiences. Initial concepts for the 5,000m2 site had been drawn up by Grimshaw.

Intended as a ‘bold architectural statement’, Belfast Stories will feature indoor and outdoor civic ،es including a ‘state-of-the-art cultural screen centre’ and food and beverage facilities.

The scheme within the 1928 landmark Art Deco-style structure has been billed as a flag،p project of the £850 million Belfast Region City Deal. It also aims to create a dedicated ،me for Northern Ireland Screen’s di،al film arc،e with public access and programming as well as a base for film-related ،isations.

Snøhetta partner and director Robert Greenwood​ said: ‘We recognise the building and its adjacent site have the ،ential 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 ،e that will improve the vi،ncy and aesthetic of this part of the city, but we also recognise ،w excellent architecture can deliver community benefits and have lasting cultural impact.’

TODD Architects director Paul Crowe said the team understood the ‘complexity of the task at hand’, acknowledging the plans must ‘represent the highest standard of modern architecture, while sympathetically restoring the Bank of Ireland building to its former glory, all while reflecting what is authentically Belfast’.

The winner and s،rtlist in full

  • [WINNER] TODD Architects and Snøhetta​
  • Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
  • Hall Black Douglas and Stanton Williams​
  • Haworth Tompkins​
  • Hoskins Architects
  • John McAslan + Partners​
  • OMA