From 17-19 July, 50 iconic buildings opened their doors to the general public as part of the first ever Open House Festival to take place in Northern Ireland. The aim of the festival is to highlight and celebrate architecture and design in the city.
However there was one building that stood out from the rest in terms of its sheer scale, stunning views and contemporary architecture - Belfast Waterfront`s new world class conference centre, opening in Spring 2016.
The new fully integrated extension will transform Belfast Waterfront into a truly world class conference centre as well as see its event space double in size to almost 7,000m2.
The steel structure of the new build is approaching completion and extends along the River Lagan embankment taking full advantage of the stunning riverside views. For one day only, this area was opened to the public and as expected all the places on the tours were snapped up. On Saturday 18 July, 60 lucky individuals enjoyed a sneak preview of the new multipurpose spaces opening in fewer than 285 days. Indeed some even travelled over 100 miles to take part in the tour.
The tour route started with the two interconnecting halls measuring over 2,500m2, followed by visitors making their way through the dedicated riverside entrance, 660m2 foyer and additional meeting rooms, before ending at the `top of the house` where they enjoyed spectacular views of the city from one of the exterior terraces.
Feedback of the tour was overwhelmingly positive with some participants hailing it as `the best of all the other tours`. Many were struck by the scale of the project and in particular Hall 1 which covers 1,800m2 with a ceiling height of 9m to accommodate large scale productions.
Above all, the tours offered a unique opportunity to see a live construction site - especially one of such magnitude.
Representatives from Todd Architects and McAdam Design were onsite to answer any questions about the project and materials used, whilst McLaughlin & Harvey`s health and safety staff were on hand to carefully manage the visits.