Performance courtyards on opening night.

Performance courtyards on opening night.

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Ebrington Square

Derry~Londonderry, Ilex Urban Regeneration Company

OPEN was commissioned to develop proposals for the former Parade Ground at Ebrington Barracks in Derry~Londonderry. The Parade Ground, now known as Ebrington Square, has become a unique destination space within the Ebrington Masterplan, a new mixed use cultural quarter within the City. The square, similar in scale to Trafalgar Square in London, has become a major venue for arts and culture in Ireland, and has provided the main large scale venue for Derry~Londonderry’s UK City of Culture 2013 programme of events. The scheme includes a new public plaza, performance spaces, and sculpture / exhibition opportunities. This is linked to the historic walled city across the River Foyle by an iconic new £10m foot and cycle bridge designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects. Ebrington Square forms the first phase of the Ebrington masterplan to be completed and as such provides a destination in its own right.

The Ebrington site is located on the banks of the River Foyle, with Ebrington Square the central element within the historic Star Fort Walls. There are also 14 listed buildings on the site, and a total of 19 of historic or architectural note. The river, Star Fort and listed buildings provide a strong context within which the Parade Ground proposals and masterplan will sit. Working with these natural and historic elements, OPEN developed a contemporary response respectful of the existing situation. OPEN worked closely with NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency) and the local planners, refining the proposals for the Parade Ground based on open, continuous and ultimately fruitful dialogue. Significant input from the events and arts community was received, ensuring the designed space would be suitable for the intended programmed activities.

OPEN developed the concept proposals through to a Stage F (tender information), resolving detailed design issues and providing a robust set of Employer’s Requirements contract information before the Design Build construction phase commenced. OPEN were retained by the client throughout the construction phase working with project managers / engineers McAdam Design, ensuring the proposals were delivered in accordance with the Employers Requirements.

Ebrington Square was formally opened on the 14th February 2012 during an evening of events attended by in excess of 5,000 people. It has since been used for multiple large scale performance events for up to 10,000 people.