Examples Of Facade Architecture In Northern Ireland


An architectural facade can be made of several different materials, including glazing, curtain walling, brick, cladding and more. It is often a combination of more than one of these elements.

The facade serves a number of key purposes, including protecting the building from the weather and controlling the climate inside.

However, another important purpose of a facade is to make a building more attractive. To add design and style elements and to include decorative features.

The architecture across Northern Ireland is a wonderful blend of historic buildings and new designs that complement each other perfectly. However, there has been an increasing move towards modernising architectural facades, even on older buildings, to make these more usable and inhabitable spaces.

So below, we’re going to take a look at some examples of facade architecture in Northern Ireland and how it’s shaping the landscape of the nation.

Merchant Square, Belfast 

Located in the heart of Belfast city centre, Merchant Square comprises of 250,000 square feet of office accommodation, as well as several retail and restaurant units on the ground floor.

It is the reimagining and redevelopment of the 1970s Ferguson, Oyster and Royston House. These three existing buildings were combined to create an innovative new space, using a unitised facade system to minimise disruption in the city centre.

Now, this beautiful space has a fully glazed front facade, complete with steel cladding for a striking finish. This not only looks great in the centre, but it also maximises natural light for those using different units within the building.

The Paper Exchange, Belfast

Also located in central Belfast, The Paper Exchange is another office space, this time comprising of 11 storeys at around 155,000 square feet.

What was once used for the printing press, linen and shipbuilding has since been transformed inside and out to create a more modern space and top destination for FinTech investment in Belfast. A large part of this is down to the uncompromising design and beautiful new glazed facade.

Much like Merchant Square, this features floor-to-roof glazing and steel cladding for a rusty pallet that looks modern but blends effortlessly with the surrounding brickwork.

Southern Regional College, Armagh

The Southern Regional College in Armagh is an important higher educational establishment in Northern Ireland and spans two council areas and five campuses. The latest campus is an impressive piece of architecture that was designed and created to facilitate professional and technical education for students.

Fibre cement panels were used for the facade, creating a high-quality granulated marble look in a series of different colours that all balanced perfectly together.

This and the use of curtain walling glazing to flood the campus with natural light are just two reasons the building looks and functions so beautifully.

They have used similar facade designs to update some of the campuses in other locations as well, including the campus at Banbridge, which is designated for Multimedia and Digital Design.

The Titanic Building, Belfast

The Titanic Building is one of the most impressive examples of facade architecture in Northern Ireland. Found in Belfast, the facade is clad with 3,000 differently shaped silver anodised aluminium sheets. And of those 3,000 sheets, two-thirds are completely unique shapes and not repeated even once on the rest of the building.

The facade also leans at an angle of 72 degrees. This, coupled with the complicated asymmetrical geometries, has created a mesmerising visual effect. This is only enhanced by the incredible reflection from the pools of water below.

Opened in 2012, this was a huge project that garnered a lot of attention and has since attracted lots of tourists to the area.

Foyle Sports Arena, Derry

Last but not least, located in St Columb’s Park, Derry, we have Foyle Arena. This is a leisure and events arena with a very interesting and environmentally friendly design. Using a mixture of zinc, wood, and light-permeable panels for the facade, the building is very energy efficient and far better for the planet.

But it’s not just about being practical, is it? That is why the cladding on the outside uses three different shades of grey for a fun and attractive finish.