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Belfast Streets Ahead Phase 3

Belfast, Department for Social Regeneration

OPEN was part of the successful team appointed through competitive tender for Belfast Streets Ahead Phase 3 (BSA Phase 3). The third phase of the Belfast Streets Ahead programme concentrates on Royal Avenue; York Street (to its junction with Frederick Street); Frederick Street; the environs around St Anne’s Cathedral; Cathedral Gardens (aka Buoys Park) and Library Square. The project will complement the works completed during the Belfast Streets Ahead Phase 1 project and will interface with Ulster University’s plans for their Belfast campus. This major new development introduces exciting new architecture and approximately 15,000 students into the north of Belfast’s city centre.

OPEN’s role within the team has been to develop public realm proposals for the streets and spaces within the BSA Phase 3 study area leading to the recent submission of a planning application. During the development of proposals, OPEN has engaged with key stakeholders, including representatives from Belfast City Council, Ulster University and the Cathedral Quarter Trust, ensuring that all opinions have been considered. Transport NI has also been extensively consulted, ensuring the proposals for streets are suitable and take account of future transport strategies.

The proposals look to provide a transition in character between the retail core and ‘cultural quarter’ to the north. The treatment for Royal Avenue looks to extend the palette of BSA Phase 1 along this important retail street, reinforcing it as part of the retail core. Beyond the junction with North Street, the palette of materials is based on that established within Cathedral Quarter, extending this character to engage with Cathedral Gardens and the new Ulster University campus. Cathedral Gardens are to become a new space combining the characteristics of a park, garden and square to provide a revitalized significant public space within the north of the city centre. As part of the Cathedral Gardens proposals, OPEN has developed an architectural brief for a multi-use pavilion that is proposed as part of the scheme.