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Titanic Belfast regenerates heart of the city

08 May 2012

Chris Fitzsimmons reports from Northern Ireland on the UK's latest visitor attraction, opened in time to commemorate 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic.

Built just yards from the original site of Titanic’s construction and launch, the new Titanic Belfast building forms the centre piece of Europe’s largest ongoing urban regeneration project. Its striking design, rising from the banks of the river, was sculpted by architects Civic Arts / Eric R. Kuhne & Associates and Todd Architects echoing the Whitestar Line’s four pointed logo. Kay Elliott Architects were responsible for the Grand staircase and interiors architecture.

The glass centre invokes the fatal iceberg and the tallest of the four points is also built to the same height as the prow of the Titanic. Far from being just a museum, Titanic Belfast contains a full banqueting suite for up to 1000 seats, as well as its nine gallery visitor centre and exhibition. This includes a dark ride and an immersive cave experience as well as a cinematic theatre showing video footage of the exploration of the wreck.

Harcourts, which was the main contractor, brought DJ Willrich onboard to implement the visitor attraction elements designed by Event Communications, Mayne Communications to provide AV fit-out to the banqueting facilities, and G4S to install aspects of the PA/VA fire alarm and life safety systems. This system was supplied and commissioned by local distributor DJ Killpatrick.

Entering the vicinity of the site, the first thing that strikes you is just how central the Titanic Quarter is to the city of Belfast. The shipbuilding industry in the city is a shadow of its former glory. And, whilst Harland and Wolff still builds ships and services off-shore platforms, it is the glory days of boom town Belfast at the dawn of the 20th century that the city hopes recapture in its newest visitor attraction. Those glory days are encapsulated in a verse of song written around the compass rose on the floor of the foyer: “O city of sound and motion! O city of endless stir! From the dream of the misty morning, To the fall of the evening air; From the night of the morning shadows; to the sound of the ship yard horn; We hail thee Queen of the Northland, we who are Belfast born.”

To read about the technology behind all aspects of this exciting new development, from the exhibition galleries to the life safety systems, click the link to the full article in the May edition of InAVate’s ActiveMagazine.

Also, don’t forget to check out the video coverage of the installation over on the InAVate TV section of the site.

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