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O'Hare & McGovern

Girdwood Community Hub

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Project Info

  • Project Category:
    Sports and Leisure
  • Project Name:
    Girdwood Community Hub
  • Client:
    Belfast City Council
  • Location:
    10 Girdwood Avenue, Belfast, Antrim BT14 6EG
  • Architect:
    Michael Whitley Architects

Project Overview

This first class development offers leisure facilities, café, community garden, well-bring area, classrooms, a 45 station gym, multi-sports pitch, indoor sports facilities and mixed use space for business units.

Funded by the EU’s PEACE III Programme, the hub is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), the Department for Social Development and Belfast City Council.

The world class building with modern leisure and community facilities was constructed to help residents access the services they need in one place and tackle some of the long term issues facing local communities, including poverty, health problems and more opportunities for young people. The health and wellbeing offering reflects local needs and the building also meet education and training needs.

On the site of the old Girdwood Barracks in North Belfast, the new 4,395m² shared community ‘Hub’, the building is 91% naturally ventilated. 

The structure was enclosed with block and brick cavity wall construction, precast cladding components & sections of timber cladding. Internal finishes included fair faced brickwork, cast in-situ fair faced fine quality concrete work, board marked fair faced concrete work, timber cladding, glazed partitions and paint finished plaster masonry. Site works included construction of 5-7m high retaining wall, provision of new car parking around the building with lighting & hard and soft landscaping works with stepped approaches for public use.

Complex Mechanical & Electrical service installations were required including LPHM heating, solar thermal & photo voltaic panels, rainwater harvesting, gas fired combined boiler, ground source heat pumps, CCTV, fire alarm systems, intelligent natural ventilation controls including wireless and batteryless sensors and BACNET interface to the main BMS.

Key Features

  • Regeneration Award Winner (RSUA) Design Awards 2016
  • Community Benefit Project of the year at the Property Excellence Ireland Awards 2016
  • Excellent BREEAM rating
  • 5 classroom satellite education centre for Belfast Metropolitan College
  • Large multi-use sports hall
  • Dance studio performance space
  • Liased quartely with Girdwood Community Forum representing 26 cross community groups
  • 25 apprentices employed with 4 placement students also on site
  • Seminar/meeting/staff spaces/offices
  • 5-7m high retaining wall

Testimonials

  • The Girdwood Community Hub is not simply a building – it is a shared space where we want all members of the community to feel welcome, safe and free to enjoy the leisure and learning opportunities it brings to North Belfast. Chair of the Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, Councillor Declan Boyle
  • The building has been built to a very high specification with beautiful red brick, natural wood as well as floor to ceiling windows to let plenty of natural light in - This marks the first new leisure centre from Belfast City Council’s £105million Leisure Transformation Programme. GLL’s General Manager at Girdwood, Alison Foster
  • The Girdwood Hub will be a world-class building with modern leisure and community facilities, helping residents access the services they need in the one place, and tackling some of the long term issues facing local communities, including poverty, health problems and more opportunities for young people - The health and wellbeing offering will reflect local need and the building will also meet education and training needs, with Belfast Met agreeing to deliver classes from the Hub. Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, Alderman Gavin Robinson
  • This project has the local community at its heart and will help to create a safe and welcoming environment where people from many different communities can come together and learn from each other - This is one of the key objectives of the EU’s PEACE III Programme, which has allocated over €80 million to a large number of ‘shared space’ projects that are helping to transform local communities and encourage greater levels of meaningful reconciliation - Upon completion, it will create a truly shared space which will allow people to connect and overcome sectarian based prejudice and division. Director with the SEUPB, Lorraine McCourt

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