The Waterfront Hall is the cornerstone project in a huge £1 billion riverfront redevelopment scheme undertaken by the Laganside Corporation – a non-governmental public body. Previously this area of Belfast had been run-down due to the decline of the ship building industry in the city. The Waterfront Hall was one of the first projects in what became one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe. The venue includes a Main Auditorium with 2,241 seats, a studio, 14 meeting rooms, gallery space, a gift shop, restaurant and two bars. The Waterfront Hall has become an important flagship project that Gilbert-Ash is proud to have built. It has been voted as the world’s top conference centre for several years in a row.
• Silver Award for Environmental Best Practice (Green Apple Awards – 2005) • British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA) Best Practice Award (2001) • Regional Award (Royal Institute of British Architects – 1997) • RIBA National Award 1997 • Regional Award (Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland – 1997). • RSUA (Royal Society of Ulster Architects) ‘Liam McCormick’ Prize for Building of The Year 1997 • Overall winner (Concrete Society Award – 1997) • Design Award (Royal Society of Ulster Architects - 1998) • Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Award (1998) • Civic Trust Award (1998) • 10th World’s Best Congress Centre (International Association of Congress Centres AIPC Award - 2005) • 5th World’s Best Congress Centre (AIPC Award - 2004) • 6th World’s Best Congress Centre (AIPC Award - 2003) • 2nd World’s Best Congress Centre (AIPC Award - 2002) • 7th World’s Best Congress Centre (AIPC Award - 2001) • British Airways (BA) Tourism Award, in association with Northern Ireland Tourist Board (1998) • Best Practice Award in Access for Disabled (Adapt Award for Concert Halls – 1998)
Regeneration & sustainable legacy In order to understand the impact of the Waterfront Hall, it must be viewed against the backdrop of Belfast in the 1980s. This was an era where the shipyards had gone from being one of the largest employers in the country to a period of steep decline. The river Lagan was highly polluted and the housing stock in the area was old and of poor quality. The Waterfront Hall was the cornerstone project in a huge regeneration project under the direction of the Laganside Corporation, a non-governmental public body whose remit was to tackle the social and economic regeneration of an initial 140 hectare area of inner city land, straddling both banks of the River Lagan. This boundary has since been extended to 200 hectares to include the historic Cathedral Quarter, one of the oldest parts of Belfast, which lies close to the city centre. Public investment in the regeneration was used as a catalyst to attract private investment in the regeneration project. Through the project, Laganside secured: • Over £900 million of investment in the area • Over 14,200 jobs • Over 213,000m2 of office space • Over 83,000m2 competed retail/leisure space • Over 700 completed housing units
‘Contributing to the revitalisation of Belfast and Northern Ireland by transforming Laganside to be attractive, accessible and sustainable, recognised as a place of opportunity for all’. Laganside Mission Statement