31/01/2011

Trade Centre Architect Visits Barracks Site

A world leading architect has visited Belfast to help decide the future of the former Andersonstown police barracks site

The competition panel chaired by leading world architect, Daniel Libeskind, have met to select designers to develop detailed designs for the proposed EXPO Centre at the former site of the Andersonstown Police Station.

In February, 2003, Mr Libeskind won the competition to be the master plan architect for the reconstruction of the bombed World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, New York.

He was in Belfast as part of the international design competition being run by the Department for Social Development for the barracks site.

SDLP Minister Alex Attwood accompanied the panel on a visit to the prominent local site at the junction of the Falls and Glen Roads.

Speaking about his plans for the site, the Minister said: "I see the EXPO West building as a statement of my own and my Department's determination to regenerate an area that witnessed the terrible trauma of terror and conflict.

"It will be a building to showcase the wider regeneration of west Belfast – regeneration being led by my Department at the Glen Road, at Andersonstown, along the Falls and through local neighbourhood renewal action plans.

"I am looking for an iconic building, one that defines the future of West Belfast and captures the character of the Andersontown community. This is a big opportunity and we need to grasp it fully."
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Daniel Libeskind said: "I am very excited that EXPO West Design competition in Belfast will become an extraordinary example of world class architecture and urban design. With the powerful history of the site, the project is committed to the meaningful revitalization of Belfast."

Minister Attwood welcomed the involvement of international architect Daniel Libeskind in the competition, noting that this had helped to attract world-class architecture and design teams: "Like me, Daniel is committed to building a thriving and confident Belfast and to involving the local community in design proposals for their area. His advice in assessing entries is invaluable."

Mr Libeskind and Minister Attwood also presented certificates to children from Divis Street Primary School who have recently completed a course with PLACE (the Northern Ireland Centre for Architecture and the Built Environment) emphasising the importance of quality architecture and design for everyone in the community.

Minister Attwood congratulated the children and the local architects involved in the scheme, saying: "A big part of regeneration is about improving the future lives of our young people. PLACE, one of DSD's partners in Expo West, has been working with local architects and teachers to help children understand what buildings and architecture mean for them. Pupils of Divis Street Primary and other schools have an enthusiasm that is an example to us all."

(GK)

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