School in the sky
Belfast is well known for its history of division between its citizens. The aim of my design is to create a communal cultural hub in Belfast City Centre that would help bring together people from all walks of life. The project is a multipurpose building that could be used commercially, educationally and politically. The inspiration for this design is derived from the hidden hedgerow school that existed during colonial occupation as described in the Irish play ‘Translations’. However, my proposal will celebrate Irish culture and heritage through an iconic architecture that stands proud in the capital of Northern Ireland.
My proposed building would not only service current needs, but help bring back the roots of traditional Irish culture, such as Irish dancing and the teaching of the dying Gaelic language, as the city currently does not offer such a space. I propose a two-level building situated 15m above the busy streets of Blackstaff Square, nestled within the urban cityscape. The first floor is made up of classrooms, a kitchen, toilets and seating spaces for the community to interact and learn off one another. The top floor holds a large open space for the community to utilise, including flexible furniture arrangements. There is also a 115-seat amphitheatre with a large backstage, as well as a lighting box that is kitted out with lighting and sound equipment. This space would ideally be used as a community theatre for both amateur and professional drama companies. It could also act a teaching space for students of all level looking to further their knowledge.