Belfast's Victorian Theme Park

Belfast's Victorian Theme Park

The Titanic Visitor Centre in Belfast is a very popular tourist attraction. Between 2012 - 2015 it attracted 1.9 million visitors — that's more than the population of Northern Ireland. As a piece of architecture it raises all sorts of question; I'll maybe write a separate piece on those. But, I do find the whole concept a little strange. One the one hand, a kind of expensive shiny Disneyland for disaster. On the other, it tells an important story from Belfast's history. 

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A New Irish Vernacular

This image of a proposed house by Irish architecture practice Mcgarry Moon reminded me of a conversation I had earlier in the week with Laurence Lord from AP+E

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AP+E are part of a new generation of architects emerging in Ireland at the moment — relatively new — they are definitely a practice to watch.

Last week I had the privilege of spending the day with Laurence and others in Dublin, interviewing them for a piece I am working on for the Irish Times.

At the end of the day I walked through the Liberties with Laurence and we talked briefly about the different between architecture from nations with a Celtic or Nordic history as opposed to Saxon/Roman (or Swiss as Laurence quipped).

We talked about architect Steve Larkin's house at Bogwest. Which we both felt captured something of what we meant by the Celtic/Nordic lineage — Aalto's organic modernism, is a good example of this.

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Steve Larkin Architects - House, Bogwest. - Photograph by Alice Clancy 

I think that these two images open up a conversation about the difference.

I'll be writing more about this over the coming weeks.