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Discussion Starter #1
Details of the extension to the Waterfront Hall have been announced:

Under the proposals, the extension will:

double the size of the existing conference and exhibition facilities at Belfast Waterfront
offer an additional 4,000m² of conference, exhibition and banqueting space
include a major hall of 2,000m² and a minor hall of 750m²
provide extra, purpose-built, flexible meeting and circulation spaces
allow the venue to compete more effectively for larger conferences.
The development will have other advantages too, including:

creating 400 jobs during construction
contributing up to £39 million towards the local economy each year
helping Belfast tap into the growing business tourism market
providing a boost to other economic sectors, including hospitality, tourism and retail
complementing other Investment Programme projects to improve our infrastructure, including the new Visit Belfast Welcome Centre and Super-connected Belfast.
Timescales
Work is expected to start in summer 2014, subject to planning permission, and take two years to complete, with the new facilities open for business by summer 2016.

The additional facilities will be integrated within the existing building and located at the rear of the current venue, extending onto the walkway adjacent to the Hilton Hotel.

Belfast Waterfront will continue to operate as usual during the construction period.

Funders
The expansion will cost £29.5 million to build. We have committed £11 million towards the development, and secured funding of £14.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £4 million from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) to cover the remaining costs.
Source:http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/business/regeneration/waterfrontextension.aspx




Image Source:Future Belfast
 

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Funds secured..

Waterfront Hall extension funding secured

Belfast City Council has secured the funding for a major extension of the Waterfront Hall.

The project will cost £29.5m: the council is putting up £11m, the European Regional Development Fund is giving £14.5m and the remaining £4m will come from the tourist board.

Work on the scheme is expected to begin by the summer with construction completed by December 2015.

The extension will house a conference and exhibition centre.

The new centre will allow the Waterfront to compete for larger conferences.
 

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Awful. Simply awful. Looks like a big flat wall and hides the original Waterfront from the, er, waterfront? The original proposals were much nicer.

Is that really the best they could come up with?
 

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Unfortunately there is so little space at the Waterfront that extending to the river was the only option.

I do agree though that perhaps something better aesthetically should be worked on but some of the other buildings around there are truly dreadful (stand up the building that Allstate is in).
 

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The terracotta back of Waterfront Hall was always a cheap & nasty afterthought anyway, if it was the same as the front then I could see this extension as a bad idea but given that it's not I'm quietly optimistic that this will be an improvement. Of higher priority (but unlikely to ever happen) would be to demolish the old Japanese restaurant on Oxford street, it's a badly positioned building that blocks out the view of the Waterfront Hall. It's a pity Laganside had such a laissez faire attitude to what was allowed to be put up in this area, I don't know if it's a coincidence that the only real building of merit is the Lanyon Towers which happened in the fag end of Laganside's tenure- maybe they were already wound up by then.
 

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^^

I'd agree somewhat. The curved glass section isn't being touched and you'll still have a good view from the large open plaza beside the building. Hopefully we'll see more detailed images and renders over the coming week or so
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The terracotta back of Waterfront Hall was always a cheap & nasty afterthought anyway
Agreed. From the river, that part of the building never looked like anything more than crap. Covering up this part of it with an extension isn't going to make it any worse.

I also second your thoughts about the historically laissez faire attitude to planning the Laganside. Everything around there is a mess, and there is nothing that would make me want to hang around that area before or after a show at the Waterfront. :bash:
 

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In think in Laganside's defence the Hilton and BT Tower were products of cautious design given the period they were designed and built. If they were being designed today then I'd expect a lot more glass and ambition but glass buildings just didn't happen in Belfast.

As for Slugger, he's posted the old render. Secondly, this extension is a response to the changing needs of conferences and the increasing size and requirements of them.
 

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As for Slugger, he's posted the old render. Secondly, this extension is a response to the changing needs of conferences and the increasing size and requirements of them.
Its a pity its an extension and not a separate building and then they could have build this on the other side of the river with a pedestrian bridge connecting the two
 

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I agree completely about the terracotta part facing the river. In fact, I would say that makes the current proposals even more tragic when you consider that this was a big opportunity to rework that side of the building. I really don't believe that there weren't better options that maintained or improved the Waterfronts visibility and design .

I disagree with the notion that this is an improvement. The proposed extension is just as bad an eyesore as the current terracotta part of the waterfront. It is a lifeless wall with no soul. Bland, dull, cold and clinical.

As for the waterfronts visibility... as the post on slugger rightly says - The only time you'll see the Waterfront Hall is when you are actually beside it. What was once the centerpiece for Belfast"s rebirth and redevelopment is slowly being pushed to the background behind some awful planning and design.
 

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Its a pity its an extension and not a separate building and then they could have build this on the other side of the river with a pedestrian bridge connecting the two
True, however that would have taken longer, cost more and been legally complicated given that the site is now owned by administrators. The new extension is directly connected to the Waterfront Hall with its auditorium as well as a new link with the Hilton Hotel, offering a further opportunity for event spaces for massive conferences.

I organise and attend big conferences and availability of massive spaces and lots of supplementary meeting rooms is essential. We have a huge conference coming to Belfast in 2016 and this extension is essential for this and further such conferences.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I organise and attend big conferences and availability of massive spaces and lots of supplementary meeting rooms is essential. We have a huge conference coming to Belfast in 2016 and this extension is essential for this and further such conferences.
Agreed. I used to organize conferences in Belfast (although nothing big enough to require a venue as large as the Waterfront) so I know from experience that there are limited options once you have more than a couple of hundred guests.

Something of this scale is desperately needed for this market.
 

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Mixed feelings.

Clearly, this part of the Façade of the original Waterfront Hall was the least interesting and attractive. However, its replacement is equally bland and overwhelmingly horizontal. In fact its almost redolent of a suburban shopping centre.

Having said that, there is realpolitik at play. If the Waterfront Hall wants to remain competitive, short of demolition and redevelopment, this utilitarian concept could be the only show in town.

C
 

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In think in Laganside's defence the Hilton and BT Tower were products of cautious design given the period they were designed and built. If they were being designed today then I'd expect a lot more glass and ambition but glass buildings just didn't happen in Belfast.
I heard someone describe it recently as "Troubles architecture" when talking about the office buildings around Gt Victoria Street like Land and Property's place, like Capital House and Royston House in Queen Street and Oyster House in Wellington Place. They have a paucity of glass and a lot of concrete/brick.

I think that's why CastleCourt, for all its datedness these days, really stood out in the late 1980's.
 

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Some building(s) in town are meant to have light roofs on top that if there is a bomb inside the ceiling lifts into the air and falls back down in one piece. Allowing the force of the blast to escape upwards supposedly causes less damage to the insides. I always assumed the orange marble at the front of Central Station was intended to act as a barrier to bomb blasts.
 
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